2011 CEO Message

To our share holders and customers:

Master Han Fei, a Chinese statesman and philosopher said “There are as many situations as there are generations. Situations differ, so the measures change.” (“Han Fei Tzu”)

In my 2010 new year message, I wrote “Considering that the new government has just started rolling out its new initiatives, we should refrain from expecting immediate results.” I meant to say that we better not expect too much from politics. You know what happened since then. The people in Japan wanted the change of the government. It’s probably because we expected “the measures change,” as Han Fei Tzu put it, in politics. We are likely to be totally disappointed. Eventually the Japanese public will make a decision again.

Given the challenging situation surrounding Japan, however, how we interpret the words at the beginning of this letter and take actions is important to each and every one of us. My interpretation is as follows: “Everything changes when the times change. We need to change the measures to cope with changes accordingly. The best practice of the past may be of no use.” No matter how much you try to consider with a reactive attitude toward the changes, you find no solution. You will be easily swept away in the changes. In order to avoid such situations, we should get ideas from looking at the possibilities with a positive attitude and work our way to find solutions.

An objective analysis of the current conditions is more important than anything else as a way to be prepared. Nevertheless, subjectivity always gets in the way of such analysis. And I would say such subjectivity is tricky. I believe that it is critical to put away “Common Sense” which we find all over the place. In my mind, so-called “Common Sense” represents lines connecting numerous dots of facts that could not be changed. While there are as many “Realities” as the number of ways to connect dots of facts, only one way of connecting is all that matters and we accept it as “Common Sense” without any doubt. That is the human nature. The changes of the times drastically change how these lines should be. You need to feel how the trend of the times is changing, use your own brain to draw a new line connecting dots of facts, and take actions based on it. Han Fei Tzu points out its importance. That’s how I see it.

The novelty of the online brokerage business which I launched may be wearing off, but it may look different from a different perspective. It is important in any business competition to be different. This can be only achieved by not holding on to the past, keeping an open, independent mind and changing oneself with versatility. What comes out as output needs to be simple to the public. Otherwise it will not be accepted and will not lead to differentiation. High levels of expertise are required for developing such ideas. Competition among companies is a competition of intelligence. We can work hard to come up with new ideas only when faced with a competitor with better ideas. Since it is a do-or-die competition, I believe it is worth challenging.

There is a word that I learned from the late Josei Ito, ex-president and chairman of Nippon Life Insurance, who was also my senior at university whom I deeply admire. It is “Zabo,” a word of Zen, which means, “To embrace something new, whatever it is, you have to abandon old things. New things can only be absorbed when you have created vacancy. Therefore, do not hesitate to discard old things.” It is a very profound thought, but easy to say, hard to do. These are my words to live by.

We are getting closer to unveiling the innovation which I have been working on. It is up to the world to decide if it is going to be the innovation, but this is not going to be a one-off. It will be a trigger for a series of initiatives to follow organically. We believe that Matsui Securities can only live up to the most important component of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) - the social utility (that the company has a meaning to exist) – if these initiatives are accepted in the market. All of us working at Matsui Securities, including me, will try to find the best way together to deliver the innovation. We look forward to your continued support of Matsui Securities for this year.

Michio Matsui
President & CEO
Matsui Securities Co.,Ltd.