Review of 2023: Financial Services

The cooperation between Japan and UK on financial regulation and green finance have provided a significant backdrop for potential opportunities for UK firms in the market. The DBT Team in Japan started the year by tapping into the great opportunity for asset management by running the 2023 Asset Management Mission to Japan.

Asset Management Mission 2023

With Japan holding over 2000 trillion JPY in personal financial assets, home to the second highest population of high-net-worth individuals in the world, and pension funds managing over 340 trillion JPY with an increased interest in international and alternative investments, a vast potential exists in the field of asset management.

In March the DBT Financial Professional and Business Services team orchestrated the 2023 Asset Management Mission to Japan, working with The City of London Corporation and the Investment Association as part of the Global Investment Futures (GIF) campaign. The initiative brought 6 innovative and unique UK asset management firms to Tokyo to engage with potential clients, asset owners and partners to share ideas and views on asset management.

As part of the mission, Impax Asset Management, J. Stern & Co., Orchard Global Asset Management, Foresight Group, NextEnergy Capital and Octopus investments took part in the 2023 Asset Management Seminar held at the Ambassador’s Residence at the British Embassy Tokyo, opened by the visiting Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Japan, Greg Clark.

During the seminar, the audience was treated to panel discussions on ‘Investing During Turbulent Markets’ led by DBT Green Finance lead Wilf Bagnall and ‘Approaches to ESG and Sustainable Investing’ led by EY’s APAC sustainable finance lead, Heather Prosser (see our article on ESG).  The programme was completed by DBT’s Head of Financial Services Hugh De Lusignan delivering a keynote on ‘Investing in a Green Future’ and The City of London Corporation’s Trade and Investment Director Ben Cackett delivering his keynote on ‘The UK’s Innovative Ecosystem for Asset Management’. The itinerary afforded a valuable chance to network and forge connections, opening up the opportunity for future collaboration.

City of London Lord Mayor Visits Tokyo

May saw a visit from the Lord Mayor of the City of London. The Lord Mayor and the City of London Corporation are representatives for UK’s financial services industry, and his itinerary saw him meet with key stakeholders at the Ministry of Finance, Bank of Japan, FinCity.Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the JFSA. He also hosted a reception at the British Embassy Tokyo and paid a visit to Legal & General Investment Management’s Japan offices to promote the Global Investment Futures campaign and its goals to continue to position the UK and its firms as global financial leaders.  The take home message from the visit was a stronger resolve for the UK and Japan to work together and the visit succeeded in underlining the strong relationship between the City of London and Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

UK firms celebrate success in Japan      

During the year the DBT team supported notable events from UK companies celebrating success in the Japanese Market. With the British Embassy as the grand backdrop, key stakeholders were able to come together and recognise achievement and discuss ongoing opportunities.                                                                                                        

Nikko AM Europe held an event in July to talk about Investing in Future Quality, and to showcase the Edinburgh method used by the Nikko AM Europe team. 

Octopus Investments, together with Octopus Energy held an event following the announcement of £190m investment from Tokyo Gas into Octopus’ first dedicated offshore wind fund.  The event focused around the future of energy and showcased the investment opportunities to Japanese asset owners and managers.

Orbis Investments took part in a seminar to discuss the importance of long-term investing under the title of ‘Role of Defined Benefit Pension and Expectations for Japanese Equities’.  The seminar was chaired by Sadayuki Horie, former GPIF full-time Management Committee Member.

Green Finance

In October the City of London Corporation and the British Embassy collaborated with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to host the ‘Tokyo-London Green Finance Seminar‘.

Newly arrived Deputy Head of Mission, Emil Levendoglu, delivered a welcome speech at the seminar in Tokyo. Speakers from UK and Japan’s government and business spoke about the importance of taxonomies and creating the space for businesses to fund the green transition.

Financial Regulatory Forum and joint UK-Japan Financial Dialogue

The joint UK-Japan Financial Dialogue (FD) and Financial Regulatory Forum (FRF) was held in Tokyo on 27th November. Senior officials from the Ministry of Finance and Japan’s Financial Services Authority discussed a wide range of topics with their counterparts from HM-Treasury, the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority. Areas of discussion included the macroeconomy and digital economy, transformation of the global landscape, and financial regulatory issues.

A joint statement was published immediately after the FD and FRF were concluded. The statement can be found on gov.uk.

The following day, there was also a FRF business round table held at the British Embassy Tokyo where UK and Japanese government officials raised some of the topics discussed at the FRF with UK and Japanese business representatives to hear their views and thoughts.