Leadership Profiles - JSDA (2014)



Interview with:
Toshihiko Sasaki, JSDA
Executive Director, Japan Securities Dealers Association
Secretary-Treasurer of IFIE Advisory Board

1. Tell us about the work of JSDA.

    Japan Securities Dealers Association (JSDA) is an association functioning as a self-regulatory organization (SRO) and as an interlocutor for the securities industry. Today JSDA comprises more than 500 members consisting of securities firms and other financial institutions operating securities businesses in Japan.

2. What is your role at JSDA and how did you get involved with the organization?

    I am the senior manager in charge of JSDA's headquarter concerned with investor education. We carry out our investor education activities from a neutral and fair point of view, and do not conduct any activities aimed at promoting an increase in the individual investor base.

3. Tell us about the work you oversee for JSDA related to Financial Education, Financial Capability and Investor Education. What is your vision for your work?

    JSDA has investor education programs targeting middle and high school students as well as programs aimed at the consumers.

    In Japan, there are already a variety of financial institutions and other bodies offering investor education programs for retired people because it is easy to quickly produce results. On the other hand, I think insufficient measures are being taken for university students and other young people in Japan; a process that requires a long term and neutral perspective. In particular, JSDA believes that we should be emphasizing long-term measures to encourage the next generation to acquire the necessary investment knowledge and skills.

4. JSDA was a founding member of IFIE and now serves on the IFIE Advisory Board as well as helping lead AFIE, IFIE's Chapter in Asia. You and your colleagues have been in leadership roles in IFIE, including as an officer. Tell us why you and your colleagues at JSDA think it is important to be involved in the work of IFIE and of AFIE.

    The first reason is that financial market issues are problems common to countries around the world. The nurturing of financially capable consumers in every country is the foundation of maintaining a sound and robust global financial system. Consequently, we at the JSDA are enthusiastic about contributing to that goal through the IFIE and AFIE.

    Second, I believe that Japan's current issues and our efforts to solve them will provide a useful reference for other countries facing the same problems in future. Presently, Japan is dealing with the serious social issue of an aging population at a time when its economy has exited the growth stage and become mature. As a result, Japan has reached a major turning point in its social security system and in the relationship between individuals and financial services. Even if societies in other countries are not aging as fast as in Japan, many countries are facing lower birth rates and aging populations. We would be pleased if our experience in Japan could provide a reference for such countries to implement measures to address this issue at an early stage.

    The third reason is that we can further improve our financial education programs by taking a page from the measures being implemented by other countries based on their original ideas. The efforts of other countries can help us to rethink our own activities from a fresh perspective.

5. What are your priorities for the work of IFIE and its Global-regional chapters? What are you most concerned to see accomplished in the next two years?

    Insights regarding investor education or wider ranging financial education represent knowledge that can be shared by many countries and regions. Today, many international bodies, including the OECD, World Bank, IOSCO, and IFIE, are pursuing financial education activities. I hope that the formation of a system for collaboration by these international bodies with their own purposes and roles will further the accumulation of financial education knowledge and will enable countries to achieve more effective financial education programs on both the public and private sector level.