Internet firms with cheaper commissions major factor behind market changes

Internet firms with cheaper commissions major factor behind market changes

JAPAN - An increasing number of small and midsize securities companies have been closing their doors because of intensifying price competition with Internet rivals and their inability to respond to the ever-increasing speed of the trading system.

Some analysts predict more small and midsize securities companies will go out of business after the scheduled merger of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Osaka Securities Exchange in January next year.

The situation may change the landscape of Tokyo's Kabutocho--the centre of the nation's securities industry, according to observers.

Located on a busy street in Tokyo's Nihombashi district in Chuo Ward, Akakiya Coffee shop serves fresh, aromatic coffee made from coffee beans roasted by a special US-made roasting machine. The shop has become a popular place among shoppers and businessmen to take a break.

The shop was launched in October 2011 by Akakiya Securities Co., which was founded in 1922.

Akakiya cancelled its registration as a financial instruments business operator Tuesday, becoming Akakiya Holdings Co. This will allow the company to shift its focus to the operation of coffee shops and real estate rental beginning Wednesday.

"To date, we have been conducting various kinds of businesses, responding to the changing times," a senior official of the company said. "We decided to find new opportunities while we're still financially healthy enough to do so."

According to the Japan Securities Dealers Association, a total of 13 securities companies closed down as of Dec. 24 in fiscal 2012, including Akakiya Securities Co., a pace surpassing that of fiscal 2009, when 14 companies closed down in the entire fiscal year--a record for recent years.

"Small and midsize securities companies that cannot shift from old business models will face difficulties," association Chairman Tetsuo Mae said.

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