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[经济学人] [2011.10.29]Mrs Watanopportunity 渡边夫人的机遇









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发表于 2011-11-1 17:00 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Japanese investors

Mrs Watanopportunity

The Japanese reputation for prudence is not that justified

OTHER than Mrs Watanabe, the mythical Osaka housewife who places big bets on foreign currencies, Japanese investors have a reputation as a cautious lot. Nearly half said that preservation of principal was their top priority in a 2007 poll by CLSA, a broker. Half of all Japan’s household assets of ¥1,500 trillion (around $20 trillion) are parked in the safety of cash and bank deposits. Only 6% of assets are in equities, compared with 32% in America.


There are good reasons to be prudent. The stockmarket remains three-quarters off its 1989 peak; property prices have fallen for almost 20 consecutive years. The best investment over that time has been Japanese government bonds, admits Atsushi Saito, the boss of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. A decade of deflation has meant that the value of cash in the bank has soared in real terms.

选择慎重是可以理解的,股票市场仍保持关闭了1989年四分之三的峰值。资产价格已连续20年下跌。东京股票交易所的经理Atsushi Saito承认,那段时间最好的投资方式便是日本政府债券,十年的通货紧缩意味着银行中的钱实时的飞速升值了。

Yet the image of timorous investors resisting risk is not quite right. It takes about ten years for the public to become comfortable with investing, says Tim McCarthy, the boss of Nikko Asset Management. America’s deregulation in the 1970s ushered in the 1980s surge in mutual funds. Britain’s financial reforms 25 years ago set the stage for a late-1990s investment boom. Japan’s “big bang”, which included measures to liberalise trading commissions, encourage independent financial advisers and foster defined-contribution pension plans, happened only in 1998. Mr McCarthy thinks the Japanese are about where the others were at the same stage after the market opened up.


Nikko is now pursuing a number of initiatives to boost the market further. It runs classes in a sleek, high-tech amphitheatre for sales representatives from its distributors. It organises an “American Idol”-style contest for individuals to compete over producing the best returns, and offers a job to the winner. It has teamed up with a Japanese toy-block company to use the interlocking plastic pieces to educate investors about building diversified portfolios.


Purchases of “risk assets” such as investment trusts denominated in foreign currencies have steadily increased since 1999. Since the earthquake of March 11th bank deposits have ticked upwards but net inflows into the Japanese asset-management industry have jumped as well (see chart). The money mostly went to emerging markets and overseas property trusts. The motive may have been to avoid the risk of natural disasters and nuclear catastrophes, but the effect has been to take on more risk. The Japanese “are not significantly more conservative than investors in the US, as is often suggested,” declared Chiwoong Lee of Goldman Sachs this month.

风险投资产品的购买在1999年得到稳定的增长,自从3月11日地震后,银行的存款流入生产领域的净资金流都成上升趋势。资金流几乎都流向新兴产业及海外的信托公司。该现象背后的动机可能是为了避免自然灾害或核辐射的风险,但结果有可能背道而驰。高盛的 Chiwoong Lee这个月指出 日本国民并不像平时传言的那样比美国国民更保守。

Indeed, in some ways the Japanese take on even more risk than other investors (and perhaps more than they themselves realise). It can be easier to sell narrow products—shares in Brazilian miners, say—than broadly diversified ones that require tedious explanations and approvals. To boost yield, many funds do not hedge exchange-rate risk but exploit it by buying high-yielding currencies like the real. Such funds, known as “double deckers”, account for about 75% of total market flows since they were introduced three years ago, and represent 16% of all funds under management, according to Nomura Research Institute. Recently, they have been producing annual returns of 10-20%. But many fret that these funds have the potential to magnify losses as well as amplify gains.

事实上日本投资者一定程度上比其他投资者更冒风险(也许他们并没有意识到)。卖掉单一的金融产品——比如巴西矿是的股票很容易,但多样化的金融组合产品需要额外的解释和认可,因而卖掉这样的产品更难一点。根据调查显示许多基金公司为了增加投资收益而去购买外汇——例如雷阿尔(西班牙货币)。但这样的后果不能避免汇率变动的风险反而扩大了自身的风险。此类基金 ,称为"双层巴士",自从三年前别引进金融市场就占据了整个市场资金流的75%,并代表了16%的所有管理基金。但是许多人担忧高收益的基金同时意味着高风险。

Likewise, around 70% of retail assets under management are in funds that pay a stable monthly dividend. This mimics a bank account and is easier to sell to recalcitrant investors. But when the yield falls short, funds pay investors from their principal. Asset managers suspect that plenty of investors do not fully understand this, and will be furious when they find out.


Time can both ruin everything and build everything-It depends on you

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