The 1st Foreign Owned Company in Japan to Successfully Apply a Financial Services Intermediary License

The 1st Foreign Owned Company in Japan to Successfully Apply a Financial Services Intermediary License

by October 26, 2022

Singapore Japan Mobile Labs (SJ Mobile Labs Pte Ltd.) was launched in late 2021 to tackle the massive social problem of helping Japanese savers to put their financial assets to work.

The team led by co-founders Samantha Ghiotti and Liam McCance both previously at Singlife are combining global fintech talent and local financial services expertise to build a unique proposition.

SJML Japan K.K. (a subsidiary of SJ Mobile Labs Singapore) has completed its registration as a financial services intermediary (securities intermediary business), and plans to start offering selected mutual funds to help millennials build long-term assets in late 2022.

Samantha Ghiotti

Samantha Ghiotti

CEO Samantha Ghiotti said,

“First of all, I would like to thank the supervisory authorities for creating this new regime for financial services intermediaries and supporting our registration. We hope to use this new framework to bring beneficial innovations in financial services in Japan. We are the first foreign owned company to obtain this license and we are proud of this pioneering milestone. We will change the money habits of the younger generation by providing a mobile platform for savings, investment, and protection under Habitto brand”.

The New Financial Services Intermediary License was introduced by the Japanese regulator in 2021 and was designed to allow the ability to offer financial services across banking, investment and insurance under a harmonized licensing regime.

“We are determined to build a diverse team that combines global fintech experience with local domain expertise. We are delighted to welcome Prakash Raja as Head of Engineering and Data to leverage his seed to exit experience to build our mobile stack”

Samantha Ghiotti added.

Prakash Raja

Prakash Raja

Prakash, formerly CTO at Rely, a BNPL platform in Singapore which was recently acquired, will relocate to Japan.

While the license application was underway Habitto launched a beta program for 120 users. The participants could test savings and payment functionality via Visa prepaid card and wallet also enabling a connection with financial advisors via video call.

Liam McCance

Liam McCance

“To date we’ve seen over 60% of our participants take up financial advisory sessions, most of whom have never been given independent financial advice before. We’re seeing a really positive reaction from the target audience 25-45 years old to digitally deliver financial advice as they look to secure their financial future”

Liam McCance, Chief Creative Officer, said.

“With over USD 18 trillion of zero yielding assets and being ranked world’s second largest insurance market by premium, the Japanese consumer segment represents a huge opportunity for financial technology entrants,”

added Liam McCance, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer.

“We plan to provide a positive financial experience and appeal to a segment looking for simple products, readily accessible and with radically transparent, genuine, financial advice.”

SJ Mobile Labs intends to fully launch the Habitto platform to a broader public audience in early 2023.

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Featured image credit: Edited from Unsplash