Revised: June 30, 2021
With the management philosophy of "contributing to the development of society through the creation of new value-added financial services" as well as "adapting to a rapidly changing world while remaining a trusted, valued and specialized financial service provider", the Aozora Bank Group has autonomously taken the customer-oriented business attitude with the aim of growing into a new distinctive Partner Bank within Japan, offering its customers with high-quality financial products and services based on ideas drawn from our experienced staff members.
The Bank Group and its staff are committed to contributing to the sustainable growth and development of society and economy by carrying out our business in a fair and sincere manner, while maintaining the customer-oriented business attitude recognizing the importance of "helping our customers through specialized financial services that take into consideration of not only asset management needs but also wealth transfer needs and business succession needs in pursuit of the best interests of the customers".
1. Formulation and disclosure of basic policy regarding customer-oriented business management
- Recognizing the importance of instilling and establishing our customer-oriented business management further in the Bank Group, we will strengthen our efforts to realize it while the Management Committee, where we decide important matters in daily business execution, will report and hold discussions on the status of activities according to the basic policy. In addition, we will disclose the status of those efforts every six months.
- The Bank Group is engaged in activities to realize customer-oriented business management aiming to offer sophisticated financial products and services that truly benefit our customers' asset formation. We will thus review the basic policy on a regular basis for better business management.
2. Pursuit of the best interests of customers
- The Bank works on the following activities to pursue the best interests of its customers by carrying out business in a fair and sincere manner while maintaining its high-level expertise and advanced professional ethics.
・ We formulated the "Code of Ethics and Conduct" that stipulates the basic policy of the Bank Group's Corporate Code of Conduct as well as Principles of Conduct for Officers and Employees. We carry out in-house training to instill the policy, and officers and employees are obliged to submit a "Written Confirmation/Pledge" to ensure compliance.
・ We established the "Sales Qualification System" for the sale of financial products, and strive to maintain a high level of expertise by conducting qualification renewal tests every year.
- In order to confirm the realization status of the "best interests of the customers", the Bank will carry out a "Customer Satisfaction Survey" on a regular basis and will announce the results in the "status of activities" as a result index.
- The Bank believes that having many customers deal with us and satisfying the customers by increasing the balance of assets entrusted by them will lead to our growth. We will thus provide financial products and services suitable for its customers.
- The Bank will not make proposals that do not match the customers' wishes, or will not make proposals by reviewing products in a short period of time that will not suit the interests of the customers.
- In order to instill the "corporate culture" that aims for the "best interests of customers", the Bank holds discussions at office managers' meetings held every half year and strives to instill it through various training and study sessions at all business offices.
- The Bank will constantly verify and evaluate the results and progress of the above activities, and will announce some of the results in the "status of activities".
3. Appropriate management system for conflict of interest
- To accurately understand the possibility of conflict of interest with customers in transactions and the possibility of conflict of interest when developing and launching products, the Bank set up the Conflicts of Interest Management Control Division, which is independent of the Business Divisions, where we determine and identify whether transactions in which conflict of interest may exist do not unreasonably damage interests of customers, and strive to manage the transactions appropriately to prevent conflict of interest.
- When proposing financial products and services, the Bank will not select products by considering fees paid by the company that provides the product or will not prioritize products of our Group companies, but always will make proposals from the customer's point of view.
4. Fees to be borne by customers
- The Bank will consider fees charged for services to customers as one of the important information to make their decision on transactions. We will thus strive to ensure transparency as well as provide easy-to-understand explanations, including presenting comparisons with similar products and alternative products.
- Regarding the details of fees and other costs, when proposing products and services, the Bank will ask customers to check with the documents delivered prior to the conclusion of the contract or the prospectus, and after the transaction, check with the reports and others.
- The Bank will explain in an easy-to-understand manners using materials such as "Aozora Fund Line-up" so that customers can select products that meet their needs. In addition, for the contents of the materials to be used, we will announce them in the "status of activities".
5. Providing important information in an easy-to-understand manner
- The Bank will explain important information about financial products and services in an easy-to-understand manner in order to propose those suitable for customers. The major "important information" we provide is as follows.
・ Risks, returns, and transaction conditions of the products and services we propose
・ Attributes of potential customers for sale of the products
・ Reasons for selecting the products and services we propose
・ Fees received as compensation for services to customers as well as fees received from third parties (Even in the same products, if the fee varies depending on the quantity, currency, course, etc., that information will be included.)
- When providing important information, the Bank will explain in an easy-to-understand manner using sales materials, legal documents, and materials presenting easy comparison for each product (such as "Aozora Fund Line-up" for investment trusts).
- The Bank will constantly verify and evaluate our activities to provide important information in an easy-to-understand manner, and will announce the results in the "status of activities". We plan to prepare the "Important Information Sheet" within this fiscal year intended to provide explanations to our customers.
※Regarding Principle 5 (Note 2) of the "Principles for Customer-Oriented Business Conduct" published by the Financial Services Agency (FSA), the Bank does not implement it as we discontinued the sales of foreign currency denominated single premium policies aimed at asset formation, in March 2021.
6. Providing services suitable for customers
<Providing comprehensive consulting>
- For providing courteous and specialized consulting, the Bank will develop highly skilled sales personnel through training as well as acquisition of financial planner qualifications, and will offer financial products and continued services that are truly beneficial to its customers' asset formation.
- By assigning experienced financial planners to each branch and utilizing a dedicated team consisting of certified tax accountants, the Bank will provide extensive consulting services in consideration of not only customers' asset management needs but also wealth transfer needs and business succession needs.
<Providing financial products>
- After accurately recognizing the customers' needs and understanding the customers' financial knowledge, investment experience, transaction purpose, asset status, risk tolerance, life plan, etc., the Bank will carefully consider the target asset amount and appropriate asset ratio, and select and propose the product suitable for each and every customer from the diverse product line-up.
- The Bank created various information materials to provide basic knowledge about financial transactions according to the customers' financial knowledge, investment experience, etc. Some of the material such as the "Basic knowledge of asset management" is available on the Bank's website.
- The Bank will coordinate with a wide range of domestic and international asset management companies and insurance companies, and based on the attributes of our customers, we will improve our product line-up by introducing financial products and services and reviewing their handling. In addition, in order to understand customers' diverse needs, we will conduct regular surveys to customers, and make good use of the results to improve our product line-up, and at the same time, when the Bank Group develops financial products, we will work as a unified group to enhance the product line-up, such as by developing products based on the attributes and needs of customers.
- When introducing new financial products and services, the Business Divisions validate whether they are suitable for our customers, and the related business group investigates, analyzes and examines various issues and problems such as product risks and provision systems for customers. Then, the Integrated Risk Committee, the Customer Protection Committee, etc. have discussions as necessary and finally the Group Head decides the introduction.
- When introducing a new financial product, the Bank will announce the reason for selection on the Bank's website.
- In preparation for introducing complicated or high-risk financial products to customers or providing information for those with little experience in asset management, the Bank will create solicitation rules such as suitability judgment and solicitation start criteria, and we will thus provide services more carefully. Regarding the sale of investment products, we will monitor whether confirmation of the customer's intension and explanation to the customer were properly performed, and will provide instructions and training to sales personnel in order to improve and enhance the skills of explanation to customers.
※Regarding Principle 6 (Note 2) of the "Principles for Customer-Oriented Business Conduct" published by the Financial Services Agency (FSA), the Bank does not implement it as we discontinued the sales of foreign currency denominated single premium policies aimed at asset formation, in March 2021. In addition, for (Note 3) in the said Principle 6, it is not applicable to the Bank because we are not a financial business operator involved in the establishment of financial products.
<Detailed follow-up services>
- The Bank will make proposals while giving due consideration to the customer's life stage and life plan, and after the sale of financial products and services as well, we will regularly provide information such as the status of customer's owned products and market trends, and also provide information from a long-term perspective in response to changes in the customer's life stage. Through those efforts, we will contribute to the asset formation of our customers for a long time.
- For customers who own investment products, the Bank will strive to provide timely and appropriate information when the market conditions are uncertain, and especially when there is a significant impact on the products owned by customers due to sudden changes in the market, we will promptly inform customers of accurate information and give advice on market prospects, etc. We will thus contribute to our customers' asset management decisions paying attention to provide detailed follow-up services. In addition, even in normal times, we will conduct follow-up activities at least once a year for customers who own investment products, and will explain the investment status, merchantability, market conditions, contract details, etc.
- Based on the opinions received from customers through follow-up services, the Bank will review whether the products and services we proposed to our customers are suitable for them, in a bid to make better proposals.
- The Bank will constantly verify and evaluate the results and progress of the above activities, and will announce the results in the "status of activities".
<Responding to Customers' Voice>
- The Bank will take the "Customer's Voice" received in the branches and call center seriously and make good use of their feedback for service improvement and product design. In addition, we will regularly conduct customer satisfaction surveys to understand the diverse needs of our customers.
<Maintenance of branches and infrastructure>
- By combining branches and smartphone application-enabled banking services, the Bank will strive to provide customers with the same services anytime, anywhere.
- At branch locations, the Bank will strive to conduct business management with the highest priority on the health and safety of its customers, in addition to providing services that allow customers to consult in a bright and relaxed atmosphere.
7. Consultant training policy and appropriate motivational framework
- To appropriately evaluate the customer-oriented sales attitude with highly specialized and courteous consulting services, the Bank built the performance evaluation system from the viewpoint of aiming to expand assets under custody in the performance evaluation of offices and also the personnel evaluation of sales personnel, and we abolished personnel evaluation based on the amount of revenue.
- To instill the customer-oriented sales management, the Bank will develop professional sales personnel with advanced skills by formulating the "Specialized Retail Training Program" that fully considers enhancement of consulting skills and improvement of compliance awareness.
- Regarding the framework for consultant training and appropriate motivation, such as training implementation and its understanding level, performance evaluation system, the Bank will regularly check, verify and evaluate the results and progress status. For the implementation status of training, we will announce the results in the "status of activities".
- The Bank introduced the "skill chart" to visualize the strengths and weaknesses of respective sales personnel's skills (response manners to customers, product knowledge, communication, legal compliance status, etc.), and the business group and business office work together on human resource development for sales personnel.
- For realizing highly specialized consulting services, the Bank encourages the acquisition of financial planner qualifications for all sales personnel, and will announce the holding status of qualifications.