Japanese investors have historically played the role of the hometown referee, favoring the local teams and giving foreign asset management firms a slim chance of staying in the game. However, the Japanese appear tired of giving the home team a free pass. That has made selling financial services in Japan a whole new ballgame.
Foreign asset managers have proved, as of late, that growth is possible for those that hail from outside the island. Five out of every six foreign or foreign-affiliated asset managers in the Japanese market defended or gained market share over the last three years through March, according to a recent study by Cerulli Associates of Boston. Of the 80 largest asset managers active in Japan, 70%, or 56 of them, gained or maintained their share of the industry. Of those successes, 35, or nearly 63%, were foreigners.