A dot-com-era online brokerage start-up, founded in 1999 by former Goldman Sachs Group partner Oki Matsumoto, Tokyo-based Monex Group remains, at its core, a retail securities company. Its three principal brands are Monex in Japan, which over the past two years increased its customer accounts to 1.7 million from 1.2 million; TradeStation, a 2011 acquisition in the U.S., where technology development is centered and about half of Monex's 857 employees are based; and Boom, anchoring the AsiaPacific strategy of Hong Kongbased Monex International. However, Monex has diversified beyond brokerage, with asset management, M&A advisory, and program trading businesses as well as Monex Ventures, a corporate venture capital unit.
Because of a decline in trading volume, operating revenue in Japan from April through December, the first three quarters of Monex's 2017 fiscal year, fell 21.5 percent from the 2015 period, to ¥19.4 billion ($174 million), while U.S. revenue was flat at $106 million. Completed systems investments in what Monex calls a "new backbone" are expected to yield cost reductions of ¥150 million per month in the next fiscal year. "Our market information system is mission-critical, and it is running in the cloud, which allows us not only to lower costs but also to offer various services we couldn't do before," Matsumoto, 53, comments. "Without innovation, there is no future in our business."
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