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Structural, industry changes test SMFG's sense of identity

The balance of power between Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. is shifting.

TOKYO -- The Sumitomo Mitsui group is finally following the lead of its megabank rivals and shifting from a bank-centric structure to one focused on the holding company, underscoring an urgent need to work on such long-standing weaknesses as securities and trusts.

At a shareholders meeting June 29, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group President Koichi Miyata had outlined a plan to change the group's management structure in 2017 to give the holding company more authority. "We need to separate execution and oversight in a way that's easily understandable to foreign investors and authorities," he said. The group will rework an ownership structure now centered on Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

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