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Finance

Nomura launches wealth management app amid coronavirus

Tie-up with fintech Money Forward comes as broker focuses on digital services

Nomura and Money Forward launched their OneStock app, which allows users to aggregate and evaluate information about financial assets.

TOKYO -- Japanese broker Nomura launched a wealth management smartphone app on Monday with Japanese fintech company Money Forward in its latest effort to go digital amid rising competition and the coronavirus pandemic.

The app, OneStock, allows users to aggregate asset information, including assets held at multiple banks or in real estate and insurance contracts. The app is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of financial worth in real time. The app also helps with financial planning, making forecasts about future financial needs and helping users achieve financial goals.

Money Forward, Japan's top account aggregation service, is providing the data aggregation technology while Nomura contributes financial know-how. The brokerage stresses that the app is a stand-alone service that customers of rival financial institutions can use. Only the user has access to the information collected on the app.

Basic services -- including data aggregation and financial planning -- are free. More tailored advice on financial planning and investment costs 500 yen ($4.70) per month after a six-month trial.

OneStock is free to download from Apple's app store. The Android version will be released in August.

Nomura's partnership with Money Forward comes as banks scramble to digitize their own operations in a bid to attract millennials, who generally prefer to use smartphones for financial transactions rather than visit brick-and-mortar businesses.

The increased focus on wealth management also reflects the need for banks to build more stable revenue streams, as shareholders increasingly shun banks that rely on investments, trading and other volatile activities.

Overseas, investment bank Goldman Sachs has launched its Marcus retail banking service in the U.S. and U.K. as well as a mobile payment business with Apple.

In Japan, Mizuho Financial Group -- the nation's third-largest banking group -- announced a partnership with SoftBank Group this month to provide mobile financial services. The move follows the April announcement of a tie-up between Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group -- the nation's second-largest bank -- and leading online discount broker SBI.

Nomura, the nation's dominant brokerage, has seen its market share decline in recent years, partly because of the emergence of discount brokers such as SBI, but more recently by investors' shift from branch-based services. The trend accelerated after the coronavirus outbreak, which has led older investors -- Nomura's key clientele -- to avoid visiting branches or crowded investment seminars, forcing brokers to come up with other ways of serving clients.

The launch of the app, under development since last year, is not directly related to the coronavirus, said Hajime Ikeda, senior executive and fintech chief of Nomura Securities. "But we expect the trend will accelerate for investors to gather information by themselves and make investments via smartphone in today's environment," he said.

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