TOKYO Jan 29 Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation
Futures & Securities is pulling out of the retail domestic
commodities broking business, excluding online sales, to focus
more on institutional trading, a market source said on
The divestment by Mitsubishi Futures, a branch of Japan's
biggest trading house, of the retail business to another
commodities broker follows increasing regulatory scrutiny of
retail investments in Japan, upping the legal risks if
investments turn sour.
Mitsubishi Corp Futures, a unit of Japan's largest trading
firm Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T), will transfer its retail account
to another broker, Central Shoji Co. Ltd but maintain its
online retail broking business, said the source, who declined
to be identified because the information was not yet public.
Mitsubishi Futures wanted to focus its commodities trading
on the institutional market, and had notified regulators and
retail clients about the change, the source said.
Central Shoji was not immediately available for comment.
Mitsubishi Corporation Futures declined to comment.
It was not immediately known how many staff would be
Japan's commodity trading firms are increasingly focusing
on trading with financial institutions and end-users of
commodities to bolster the struggling Tokyo commodities
markets, which face declining volumes and increasing
competition from other Asian centres.
Japan's market has traditionally been dominated by retail
Tokyo Commodity Exchange Inc, Japan's biggest commodities
market which demutualised in December, has been struggling to
boost trading volumes for several years.
The exchange plans to upgrade its trading systems in May in
a bid to lure more participants, in particular those
specialising in proprietary trading.
Trading volume on the exchange, where gold, platinum,
rubber and gasoline futures are among the most heavily traded,
fell 10 percent to 41 million contracts last year 2008 and the
number of members fell 13 percent to 90.
(Reporting by Chikafumi Hodo and Chikako Mogi; Editing by
Rodney Joyce and Ben Tan)