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Mitsubishi-Morgan Stanley latest Japan brokerage to cut network

MUFG unit will reinforce urban presence in broader realignment

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and many of its peers are reorganizing operations to reflect Japan's demographic shift.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities will consider consolidating unprofitable offices in outlying areas, joining Japanese financial groups in reorganizing their sprawling branch networks.

The Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group brokerage also plans to establish about 10 new locations in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. They will be run jointly with MUFG Bank, the group's flagship lender. The brokerage will take in about 400 MUFG Bank employees.

This move follows Nomura Securities announcing that more than 30 branches will be closed or consolidated over a three-year period. Mizuho Financial Group said in 2017 it will shrink its network of roughly 500 domestic locations by a fifth before the end of fiscal 2024. Last month, Mizuho revealed plans to cull dozens more urban branches.

Japan's three major banking groups -- MUFG, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group -- are combinations of previously independent banks, each with physical branches spread across their own strongholds. MUFG became the megabank it is today through mergers involving Mitsubishi Bank, Bank of Tokyo, and UFJ Holdings -- itself a consolidation of parties including Sanwa Bank and Tokai Bank.

Securities units at each bank have undergone similar unification processes and have overlapping branches. Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities' branch restructuring is part of a wider group strategy of forming larger stores that handle banking, securities and other financial products under one roof.

Yumiko Oshima in New York contributed to this report.

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