DLJdirect Readies Japanese Online Trading

Having assisted in pioneering the booming online investing industry in the U.S., DLJdirect (NYSE: DIR), the online brokerage service of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc., has crossed the Pacific and is preparing to launch its new trading service aimed at the Japanese market.

DLJdirect SFG Securities, Inc. (DLJdirect SFG), a joint venture between the Jersey City, New Jersey-based DLJ and a consortium of Japanese companies, will go online Friday, marking the company’s first foray into the potentially vast pool of Japanese investors.

The lineup of DLJ partners in the new venture includes Sumitomo Bank, one of the world’s largest, Daiwa Securities Group, Inc. and Internet Initiative Japan. The company will be headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

DLJdirect SFG will offer stocks on the Tokyo and Osaka exchanges over-the-counter stocks, money market funds, real time and historical stock prices and charts, economic research and news and information about IPOs.

“We believe DLJdirect SFG will be one of the leading online brokerage firms in Japan and we are confident that Japanese investors will quickly adapt to the ease and convenience of online investing as American investors have,” said DLJdirect SFG Chairman, K. Blake Darcy.

International Expansion Is Key

In announcing the formation of the joint-venture last November, DLJdirect was quite clear in stating that its international expansion efforts are an important factor in the company’s future. Given the wealth that exists in the country, the pool of sophisticated investors and the technology-savvy nature of the its citizens, Japan was a logical choice for DLJdirect to make its first overseas move.

The country has an estimated $10 trillion (US$) savings market, and though its online trading industry is in the infancy stages compared to the U.S., there’s clearly an upside. All relevant statistics point to a boom in Internet use in Japan, and the number of American companies launching e-commerce sites aimed at the Japanese market is evidence that many are ready for it.

DLJdirect owns 50 percent of the joint-venture, Sumitomo owns 20 percent, and the remaining 30 percent is divided up between a number of Sumitomo subsidiaries, Daiwa Securities and Internet Initiative Japan. The new company is capitalized with approximately $25 million from the partner companies.

DLJdirect is not stopping in Japan. Later this year, the company plans to introduce its services to the UK market, a company spokesman told E-Commerce Times Wednesday.

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