Japan’s FSA registers drop in enquiries about investment products in Q1 2019

The number of enquiries regarding investment products decreased from 2,264 to 1,999 in the quarter to end-March 2019.

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has just posted the latest data about the operations of its Counseling Office for Financial Services Users, with the numbers revealing a drop in the volume of enquiries regarding investment products and virtual currencies, continuing a trend from preceding quarters.

The Counseling Office handled 1,999 enquiries about investment products in the quarter to March 31, 2019. This is down from 2,264 such enquiries received in the previous quarter.

Across products, 321 (16%) enquiries related to listed stocks, 237 (11%) related to FX, and 149 (7%) related to investment trusts.

The number of enquiries about crypto assets (virtual currencies) has significantly decreased. It amounted to humble 574 in the quarter to end-March, compared to 788 in the preceding quarter. Apparently, the hype around cryptoassets has markedly subsided.

Last year saw tightening of the regulatory environment for virtual currency exchanges in Japan. There were a number of business improvement orders issued. GMO Coin, the virtual currency business of GMO Internet Inc. (TYO:9449), was among the companies targeted by such orders. GMO Coin was instructed to establish an effective risk management system.

The latest data by the FSA includes some information about fraudulent investment schemes. During the quarter to end-March 2019, there were 216 cases of fraudulent investment solicitation reported with the regulator. Out of these, 149 cases involved reports about damages.