The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


December 2013

Committee of the Quarter works to improve economic growth here

By Megan Waters
ACCJ Journal editor-in-chief

The Banking, Finance, and Capital Markets Committee focuses on issues related to the financial services sector.

To meet the needs of this dynamic industry, the committee covers traditional commercial and retail banking and regulation, including lending to small businesses and consumers. It works with structured finance, asset-based lending and real estate lending, and after absorbing in January the ACCJ Securities Committee, the group also tackles exchange trading, derivatives, underwriting, and mergers and acquisitions.

According to Ernie Olsen, co-chair of the committee, the group is keen to remain on the cutting edge of advocacy by utilizing their key stakeholders and setting a member-driven agenda.

“We have a high level of engagement throughout the year with regulators and legislators, reflecting the issues we follow on behalf of members,” Olsen said.

“We are part of the ACCJ Financial Services Forum, which pulls together all the ACCJ committees related to financial services. This enables the sharing of information within the group and allows us to leverage our advocacy efforts,” he said.

In addition to its advocacy efforts, the committee arranges events for its 150 members, and is active in many other ways as well.

“In 2011 we helped the Financial Services Forum draft the Financial Services White Paper—Achieving New Growth Through Financial Reform. And, as a precursor to the third arrow of Abenomics [the program of reforms designed to achieve growth by stimulating private investment], we presented a wide range of suggestions that could lead to improved economic growth in Japan”, said Thomas Clark, co-chair of the committee.

“A lunch event we hosted in 2011 with Richard Koo of Nomura Research Institute Ltd. [“The World in Balance Sheet Recession: What Post-2008 U.S., Europe and China Can Learn from Japan 1990­–2005”] was notable for its incredibly high participant interest and engagement,” Clark said.

More recently, the committee sponsored a roundtable on the sidelines of the historic Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, held last year in Tokyo.

“This event attracted panelists such as the vice commissioner of the Financial Services Agency [FSA], a senior U.S. Treasury Department official, as well as regulators, market leaders, and academics from around the region to discuss the interplay between new global financial services reform measures and the ability of the financial sector to support growth,” said Olsen.

In addition to regularly engaging with the FSA, the committee is now gathering further input on growth initiatives in the domestic financial services sector that could support Abenomics’ third arrow reform agenda.

The committee hopes to present a follow-up program in 2014 that will cover the macroeconomic outlook for Japan and enable participants to hear perspectives on the often-confusing financial and economic environment.

Aims of the Committee

  • To provide a forum for members to pursue their respective advocacy objectives and network with other members who have similar objectives
  • To brief US government officials on issues of concern to ACCJ members
  • To reach out to related domestic Japanese industry groups to forge a dialogue on matters related to the regulatory and legislative agenda, and forge a common advocacy agenda
  • To sponsor public forums and exchanges, to promote sensible regulatory policies and sharing of global best practices
  • To recommend and facilitate changes in the financial markets of Japan