Japan’s FSA registers increase in enquiries about investment products in Q3 2019

Maria Nikolova

The number of consumer enquiries about investment products increased from 2,164 to 2,234, according to the latest data provided by Japan’s Financial Services Agency.

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has earlier today published the latest data about the operations of its Counseling Office for Financial Services Users.

According to the report for the quarter to end-September 2019, the number of enquiries about investment products amounted to 2,234. This is up from the 2,164 consumer enquiries about such products registered in the preceding quarter.

Across products, 493 (22% of the total) related to listed shares, 263 (11%) related to FX, and 186 (8%) related to investment trusts.

There were 87 cases related to fraudulent investment solicitation, 59 of which involved harm.

There was a slight quarter-on-quarter rise in the number of questions received regarding crypto assets. The number of enquiries regarding crypto assets (virtual currency) amounted to 522 in the third quarter of 2019. This compares 494 such enquiries handled in the preceding quarter.

The increase, albeit small, marks the end of a period of declining volumes of enquiries about virtual currencies. The drop in these questions has been seen to mark the subsiding of the hype around cryptocurrencies and the effect of the tight control that the FSA is exercising on the industry.

Let’s recall that the Japanese authorities have taken several actions against non-compliant virtual currency businesses.

In June this year, for instance, the FSA announced an administrative action against FISCO Cryptocurrency Exchange. The action followed an onsite inspection conducted by the Japanese authorities at the offices of the Exchange in February.

The inspection revealed a set of law violations by the company concerning its business management. Inter alia, the Board of Directors did not discuss important management issues such as business plans. There were also problems with the risk management system for anti-money laundering and terrorism financing, and the external management system concerning outsourcing. The FSA has therefore issued a business improvement order to the company.

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