Fidelity Investments Japan's new president is very optimistic that market will surpass the United Kingdom to become Fidelity's No. 1 overseas market by 2010.

Thomas Balk told Dow Jones he hopes the triple assets from three trillion yen to 10 trillion yen by 2010. He points to the renewed strength of the Tokyo stock market, the low saturation of asset management products in Japan and the nation's growing need for retirement solutions.

Balk also pointed out that the mutual fund industry is surprisingly small in Japan, accounting for a mere 3% share of savings, ranking it as the ninth-largest mutual fund market in the world. This is even more surprising, given the fact the Japanese have the highest savings rate in the world.

Risk-averse Japanese continue to invest most of their 1.4 quadrillion yen in cash and deposits - which leads Balk to his plan to pursue those assets primarily through bank channels. In addition, he hopes to partner with Japan's postal system, which holds 200 trillion yen and has started selling mutual funds from Nomura Asset Management, Daiwa Asset Management and Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Fidelity Japan currently offers 45 publicly offered investment trusts and 40 privately placed funds.

Balk assumed his new position with Fidelity on Jan. 1 after running its European operations.

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