This day in history – October 7, 2010: OANDA Corporation buys MyGaika which became OANDA Japan Inc

On this day six years ago, OANDA Corporation acquired a majority stake in MyGaika, marking its entry into the notoriously domestic-orientated Japanese FX market. Six years on, OANDA is still a strong contender, proving that this shrewd model led to sustainable business in the world’s largest region for retail FX by volume.

Japan

Technology-led Canadian electronic brokerage OANDA Corporation’s entry into the Japanese market began some six years ago today, when the firm acquired Japanese brokerage MyGaika and renamed it OANDA Japan Inc.

This acquisition represented the beginning of a great interest in the Asia Pacific region for OANDA Corporation, which following its foray into the notoriously domestic audience orientated Japanese market by very cleverly purchasing a Japanese firm instead of attempting to bring a Western firm into Japan, then established operations in Singapore led by charismatic industry leader Rajesh Yohannan who recently left the firm to become CEO at Australia’s AxiTrader.

OANDA Corporation’s Japanese operations was commenced as a result of its majority stake in MyGaika on this day six years ago, with a view to establishing a foothold in the Japanese market, which at the time represented 35% of all global retail FX business, within one country, conducted by domestic market firms only.

The new subsidiary brought liquidity and technology from OANDA Corporation into the former MyGaika firm, while otherwise operating as an independent organization. From its outset, OANDA Japan managed risks and sources liquidity independently, so its platform pricing varied from that of OANDA Corporation in North America and its other subsidiaries.

Additionally, leverage was restricted to a maximum of 25:1, in accordance with Japanese financial regulations.

In October 2010, Michael Stumm, who was CEO of OANDA Corporation at the time, explained ““Institutional traders, particularly those in Japan, have long expressed a strong desire to access OANDA’s ultra-competitive spreads and deep forex liquidity. We launched OANDA Japan in response to a clear need in the Japanese forex market—the third most active forex trading market in the world—for low spreads and reliable liquidity sources.”

Tomitaka Ishimura was appointed Managing Director of OANDA Japan Inc. He holds a degree in economics from Osaka National University and had attained a solid experience within financial institutions, including trust banks where he was responsible for managing securities and forex trading services.

“OANDA represents an attractive alternative for forex traders in Japan,” said Mr. Ishimura at the time. “I am pleased to launch OANDA’s trading platform in the Japanese market, as the company’s focus on applying innovative thinking and technology to improve efficiency in forex trading will be of great benefit to customers here.”

Interestingly, OANDA Corporation is one of the very few non-Japanese companies that has managed to enter the Japanese market and is still in business there six years later.

This is to be credited, as it is notoriously very expensive, bureaucratic and hierarchical, and Japan’s loyalty to the large domestic companies has made for a very difficult environment for many companies wishing to enter.

Therefore, the combination of OANDA Corporation’s proprietary technology (proprietary platforms are very much favored in Japan) and its shrewd decision to acquire a majority stake in an existing firm were the right formula for a sustainable business.

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