Responding to the Introduction of NISA
Contributing to Customers' Asset Formation and the Revitalization of the Japanese Economy through a Proactive Response to Nippon Individual Savings Account (NISA)
Households in Japan hold about JPY 1,500 trillion in monetary assets, and the majority of these assets is held in deposit accounts. To enable households to achieve stable expansion in their asset portfolios and expand the supply of funds necessary for economic growth, it is believed that promoting the shift from deposits to securities investments will be necessary.
Accordingly, in January 2014, NISA, which is a tax exemption scheme for investment by individuals, was introduced. Under the NISA system, individuals can invest a maximum of JPY 1 million each year in new investments, and the dividends and capital gains from these accounts are tax–exempt for a maximum of five years. As this system comes into wider use by individuals, it is expected that this will provide the opportunity for persons with relatively little investment experience, especially younger people, to become interested in investing and take the initiative in building their assets.
As a financial institution, Mizuho is responding actively to the introduction of the NISA system and is, thereby, seeking to contribute to customers' asset formation and the revitalization of the Japanese economy.
Initiatives to Broaden the Customer Base for NISA through Collaboration with Banks and Securities Companies to Widen the Lineup of Products and Services
To bring NISA into wider use, Mizuho believes that efforts will be needed to increase interest among customers in these accounts and respond to a wider range of customer needs for financial products and services. MHBK and MHSC moved ahead early on with expanding their lineup of financial products, reducing the burden of related procedures, and conducting promotional campaigns.
From a product perspective, in August 2013, Mizuho introduced the "i–mizuho Index Series" (hereinafter, the series) which comprised 22 types of investment funds based on the concepts of "simple and low cost." The objective of launching the series was to help expand the base of individual investors among younger people, persons with less experience in investing, and other groups. By adopting an index fund management approach and making the series available only over the Internet, Mizuho was able to restrain costs. Mizuho also designed the series with clear indications of the investments to be made as well as the hedging of foreign currency risk. In addition, in May 2014, Mizuho began to offer its Mizuho Index Investment Strategy Fund (nicknamed, i–Puzzle), which adapts to changes in the investment environment by diversifying its investment into funds in the series, with investment decisions and changes in portfolio composition decided flexibly by an asset management company.
From the perspective of customers' convenience, Mizuho is working to offer easy–to–use, innovative services. For example, since opening NISA requires customers to provide a certificate of residence, to make opening of these accounts easier, Mizuho provides a proxy service to obtain these for customers. In addition, in response to requests from companies who want to assist their employees in their asset formation activities, Mizuho became the first in Japan to provide arrangements to make periodic deposits in investment trust accounts by having a portion of employee salaries transferred to a NISA. In addition, to promote use of the NISA system, Mizuho also offers a "cash back" plan linked to the purchase value of investment trusts. Also, MHBK and MHSC are actively collaborating in offering seminars and advisory meetings within companies for their employees. Through the end of March 2014, such sessions had been held more than 1,000 times with the participation of many customers. As a result of these initiatives, as of March 31, 2014, MHBK and MHSC had accepted a total of about 500,000 applications for opening NISA.
MHBK and MHSC are actively expanding their offerings of products and services to create an environment that offers investment opportunities to meet a wide range of needs and is taking initiatives to provide information that will broaden the investor base for NISA.