FINTECH INNOVATOR EXPANDS INTO APAC: RAKUTEN SECURITIES

akuten Card, Rakuten Bank, Rakuten Pay, Rakuten Life Insurance – Rakuten’s agile, innovative fintech companies have already cemented their positions as major players in the domestic financial landscape. Now they’re beginning to make inroads outside Japan. Since 2015, Rakuten Securities has taken major steps to expand in APAC, offering low-cost, user-friendly services to customers across the region.The company was originally founded as DLJdirect SFG Securities back in 1999 – just in time to take advantage of a wave of deregulation in Japan’s brokerage commission practices that had commenced the year before. That deregulation made equity trading significantly more accessible for the general population and prompted a then primarily analog industry to shift almost entirely online in the space of just a few years. DLJdirect SFG Securities was able to take advantage of its cutting-edge online trading platform to offer customers new low commissions.

In 2003, the company joined the Rakuten family and a year later it was renamed Rakuten Securities. Since then, it has continued to keep the industry on its toes – expanding into new trading areas such as forex, developing robo-advisors, implementing blockchain security systems and even developing a stocks monitoring app for the Apple Watch. Still, with financial regulations varying significantly from country to country, most of those innovations had been focused on Japan. In 2015, that changed.

Rakuten Securities President Yuji Kusunoki (second from the left) on stage with other panelists at the SCxSC Digital Finance Conference 2017 in Malaysia.

Rakuten Securities President Yuji Kusunoki (second from the left) on stage with other panelists at the SCxSC Digital Finance Conference 2017 in Malaysia.

The company’s first move abroad began with Hong Kong. In September 2015, Rakuten Securities acquired Hong Kong forex innovator FXCM Asia (now Rakuten Securities HK), combining the expertise of one of Asia’s leading forex brokers with Rakuten Securities’ more than 15 years of online trading experience.

The following year it was Australia’s turn: In August 2016, Rakuten Securities expanded its global forex coverage even further across the region with the acquisition of Australia-based “FXAsia Pty Ltd” (now Rakuten Securities Australia).

Just two months later, Rakuten Securities received approval to form a joint venture with Malaysia’s Kenanga Investment Bank, launching the country’s first-ever completely online equities brokerage platform Rakuten Trade in May 2017.

The strategies across the four countries share the same fundamental principles: highly competitive rates and excellent local customer service.

“When we go into new markets, we always implement our best practices,” explains Rakuten Securities President Yuji Kusunoki. “We identify markets with high potential and provide customers with low commissions and a high-tech, user-friendly platform.”

Kusunoki’s strategy is clearly a winner: “Rakuten Securities is now in the number two position in the online brokerage business in Japan,” he says. The company was also recently named the world’s third largest forex trading broker, achieving a trading volume of US$269.4 billion in the final quarter of 2016 – and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. “We are focusing on identifying more potential markets in the Asia-Oceania region where we can make the most of our industry expertise,” Kusunoki says.

With an exploding online population and a booming regional economy, Asia is proving to be the perfect environment for the next stage of Rakuten Securities’ growth.

Arsene Wenger confirms Jack Wilshere contract talks will start at end of December

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed that talks over a new contract for Jack Wilshere will begin at the end of December.
But Wenger said: “I will talk to him. I said [I would] at the end of December.

“We are at the beginning of December so it’s true that it’s not far, but I wanted to see, as well, how much he can contribute and how he will last physically.

“It is, of course, for him to be happy to be here as well, that is important. I consider him as an Arsenal man and, for him, it’s important as well to feel
Wilshere’s current deal expires at the end of the season, and he is free to discuss a move abroad when the transfer window opens in January.

Wilshere completed his first 90 minutes in the Premier League for Arsenal in over three years in the 0-0 draw at West Ham on Wednesday.

It was also his first Premier League start for the Gunners since May 2016after a long line of injuries.

When asked whether he was impressed by the midfielder’s performance against West Ham, Wenger said: “Overall, yes.

“I think it was an encouraging performance. He suffered, certainly a little bit, in the last 20 minutes. But we were in a position where we had to attack, so I left him on the pitch because he can contribute to that.