Japan Financial Services Agency (FSA)

The Japanese Financial Services Agency (JFSA) is responsible for protecting market participants and the stability of the local financial system. The actions of the regulator can also have important implications for traders. This guide will explain more about the history of the agency, its responsibilities, plus the best JFSA trading brokers in 2022.

What Is The Japanese Financial Services Agency?

The Japanese Financial Services Agency became a regulatory body in 2000 and is the main watchdog in the region. It is based in Tokyo and led by a Commissioner who is appointed by the Minister of State for Financial Services.

The decisions the Japanese Financial Services Agency makes in relation to securities trading has implications for both traders and online brokers. Importantly, any broker or company providing trading services to retail investors must hold a license with the JFSA. Traders can use the online register to search for FSA-regulated entities and companies.

The local watchdog is also a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This is an international organisation set up to develop global standards for anti-money laundering. As a result, the JFSA’s influence extends beyond Japan.

japan's financial services agency list of administrative penalties

Responsibilities & Powers

To understand the responsibilities and powers of the Financial Services Agency in Japan, you have to first know its structure. The FSA is split into several bureaus:

  • Strategy Development and Management – this function implements policies
  • Policy and Markets – rather than implementing the policy, this bureau makes the policy for markets and the wider financial system (e.g rules regarding liquidity risk management)
  • Supervision – this bureau has responsibility, amongst other things, for monitoring the local cryptocurrency industry
  • Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission Executive – this is the enforcement wing of the JFSA
  • Certified Public Accountants and Auditing Oversight Board Executive – this has the role of conducting audits

The Japanese Financial Services Agency also has some regulatory reporting powers to increase transparency in business activities and to assist itself in enforcing its rules. In addition, the JFSA works closely with the Government of Japan to develop legislation that impacts the local financial system and the firms within it.

An example of regulations to be introduced in the future is the mandatory requirement for climate risk disclosures for certain large companies. This move is to align with the objectives of the Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).

Investors Protection Fund

The JFSA also plays a role in insuring client funds. Trading brokers should segregate client accounts from their own capital. In theory, this means customers should still be able to withdraw their funds if a firm goes bankrupt. However, should this not happen, the JFSA has an Investors Protection Fund that will pay a maximum of 10 million yen per investor.

Enforcement

The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) in Japan comes under the authority of the JFSA. It helps undertake investigations into market misconduct and inspects financial business operators. In the case of serious violations, it can make recommendations to the Financial Services Agency and the Japanese Prime Minister to take administrative disciplinary action.

The remit of the JFSA’s enforcement powers are extensive – the regulator can impose fines, order the cessation of corporate operations and even imprison guilty individuals. Japan’s Financial Services Agency has a weekly review, which contains a list of any administrative penalties issued against companies in the preceding week.

Actions

Cryptocurrency

The Financial Services Agency in Japan has taken a robust approach to the crypto industry. Following token thefts at the Coincheck exchange in 2018, two brands were ordered to shut down whilst legislations were adjusted. In 2019, rules that applied to crypto exchanges were also strengthened to help ensure that customer assets were adequately protected.

New restrictions on stablecoins have also been discussed, with the Japanese Financial Services Agency planning to introduce fresh requirements in 2022. The restrictions may state that only banks and wire transfer services can issue stablecoins. The US has also been thinking along similar lines. It is hoped that these restrictions will provide additional protections to local financial markets, however, they are likely to impact the availability of stablecoins to crypto investors.

Forex

In the forex market, the Japanese Financial Services Agency imposes a maximum leverage cap of 1:25. This means that investors cannot trade with more than 25 times their original investment. Regulations like this help protect traders from magnified losses, however, they can also restrict traders who want to adopt high-risk strategies.

Remember that while the JFSA imposes maximum leverage restrictions, brokers can still reduce margin ratios further – they just cannot exceed the maximum cap.

Another area that the JFSA has cracked down on is advertisements that exaggerate the services or opportunities available. The regulator also regularly interviews forex brokers to ensure they interact with their customers appropriately.

Other Markets & Trading Types

The Japanese Financial Services Agency/Council has looked at streamlining the Tokyo Stock Exchange and reducing the number of companies in one of the cash equity markets. This would impact traders speculating on the growth of that market.

In addition, back in 2002, the JFSA strengthened short-selling restrictions to try and prevent unfair transactions. There have also been further developments since then, including restrictions on naked short selling (i.e selling stocks that do not exist).

Final Thoughts on JFSA Brokers

Being the chief regulator of the Japanese financial services industry, the remit of the FSA extends beyond online trading. With that said, many of the policies and regulations it devises have direct implications for traders. This can be seen in the action it has taken with cryptocurrency exchanges plus leverage in the retail forex trading space. See our list of the best JFSA brokers to get started today.

FAQ

What Is The JFSA?

The JFSA is the Financial Services Agency of Japan and the main regulator of local financial services. It creates regulations and rules governing financial companies, such as trading brokers. It also enforces its requirements and standards. Note, a licensed entity search is available on its online register.

Is The Japanese FSA Tough On Cryptocurrency?

The JFSA has taken robust action to protect crypto traders, for example, tightening the rules following coin thefts from exchanges in 2018. With that said, their requirements are similar to those of many global regulators who are also taking a tougher stance in the digital currency space.

What Is The JFSA Investors Protection Fund?

The Investors Protection Fund secures the capital of investors should a licensed firm go bankrupt. It will pay a maximum of 10 million yen per investor in the event that a securities company goes bankrupt.

What Enforcement Powers Does The Japan FSA Have?

The JFSA has powers to issue fines, imprison individuals and order the cessation of corporate activities. Its powers and responsibilities are in line with other top regulators like the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.

What Is The Maximum Forex Leverage That The JSFA Allows?

The JFSA imposes a maximum leverage rate of 1:25 for retail forex traders. These rules are relatively stringent so many brokers are registered with other, more relaxed regulators.

by