TOKYO, Feb. 7 -- (Kyodo) _ Major Japanese banks are accelerating marketing of investment trust products, cashing in on demand from first-time investors rushing to open newly created, tax-advantaged personal savings accounts.
Investors in Japan have been allowed since Jan. 1 to open Nippon Individual Savings Accounts, or NISAs, through which capital gains and dividends on up to 1 million yen a year invested in stocks or other financial instruments are tax exempt for five years.
That has sparked intensified competition among banks to attract investment beginners, with some banks waiving service charges and others offering free traffic accident insurance to new account holders.
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. said about 60 percent of the people who bought investment trust products so far this year had opened NISAs, with 40 percent of them first-time investors.
SMBC and Mizuho Bank Ltd. have both launched services to exempt online buyers of certain investment trust products from commission fees, mainly targeting a younger generation.
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd. offers free traffic accident insurance to NISA holders who make one-time contributions of more than 500,000 yen to an investment trust.
The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., meanwhile, has deployed security product marketing specialists seconded from the group brokerage firm to 62 bank branches nationwide to bolster its capacity to advise customers about its investment products.
Resona Bank Ltd. is considering attaching higher value to new client acquisition in its assessments of the performance of staff in charge of investment trust sales.