Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Expects Record Investment Product Sales

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. expects to post record sales of investment products this fiscal year as stock market gains prompt Japanese households to turn to riskier assets.

Japan’s fifth-largest bank by market value is targeting 2.1 trillion yen ($17.5 billion) of retail product sales in the year ending March 2015, the most since the group’s formation in 2011, said the bank’s chairman Hitoshi Tsunekage. Sales in the six months ended Sept. 30 totaled almost 1 trillion yen, he said in an interview in Tokyo on Dec. 25.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic stimulus measures have been fueling stock market advances, encouraging Japan’s households to move some of their 870 trillion-yen assets held in cash and bank deposits into riskier investments. Japanese government initiatives, such as a tax-free investment program that started this year, will help the trend further accelerate, according to Tsunekage.

“We’ll continue to see a high level of investment product sales,” Tsunekage said. “We need to broaden our customer-base, which is now centered around new retirees who have a significant amount of money, to younger people.”

The bank will allocate another 200 employees to its retail department to boost sales, Tsunekage added.

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust was formed in 2011 when Chuo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. and Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co. merged their operations.

Shares in the bank rose 0.4 percent to 470 yen in Tokyo yesterday. The benchmark Topix index also gained 0.4 percent.

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