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Message from CEO

Creating Unprecedented, User-Centric Investment Services — Vision of PayPay Securities

Kenji Bansho CEO & Representative Director of PayPay Securities

I began my car‍eer in the credit card industry after graduating, then transitioned to a fintech company. After being engaged in business development, management planning, and M&A, I joined SoftBank Corp. in 2016. I played a central role in new business development in the fintech area, including the founding of PayPay. In June 2022, I became the CEO & Representative Director of PayPay Securities.

Please tell us about yourself

Why did you go into finance?

Honestly, I wasn't particularly motivated about going into the finance industry, but I was drawn to a large industry where change was tangible. When I was new in the labor force, the finance industry was mostly about banks. I'm not the type who follows the crowd, so I focused on the payment and credit domain, where there was potential for growth and change. At that time, the EMV chip in credit cards was a hot topic. The objective of using this chip was to "enrich life centered on payment," which resembled today's concept of a super app, and to enhance security. Back then, Japan's cashless ratio was quite low compared to other countries, but it was a growing industry. This "frontier" of retail finance lured me in. While I was in the credit card industry, I felt that despite ‍the growth in the payment market, the business model was too rigid and resistant to change. So I made up my mind to break away and joined the most dynamic fintech company in Japan. Facing many unfamiliar tasks was challenging, but I believe I was able to acquire a wide range of skills through my experience in management planning, business development, and investment, among others. These experiences allowed me to develop the essential mindset and determination needed to carry out new business successfully. As I got more opportunities to work with ‍CEOs and executives of various companies, my desire to lead and expand a larger business grew stronger. That's when I decided to join SoftBank Corp., which was planning to launch new business in the fintech area.

Launch of PayPay and PayPay Securities

At SoftBank Corp., I was fortunate to be involved in the launch of PayPay. I looked to international examples for inspiration, and while shaping PayPay's financial ecosystem, I've always recognized the importance of investments. In that context, PayPay quickly became one of the largest payment platforms in Japan, drawing attention to its initiative in the financial ‍area. I played a role in the comprehensive alliance between SoftBank Corp. and Mizuho Financial Group in the finance domain, and in February 2021, PayPay Securities was born to enhance the mobile securities business. I was in charge of promoting the project, and I thought it would be a valuable opportunity to move forward the strategy I had drawn up myself, so I stepped up and showed my desire to become CEO. The investment business, as can be seen by regular investments in mutual funds, is about building long-term relationships with customers to grow their assets. PayPay has already acquired 62 million users in Japan (as of February 2024), and the focus now shifts to retention, monetization, and business growth beyond just acquisition. The importance of investments within the finance ecosystem will continue to rise.

Aiming to be a "proactive CEO"

Above all, I want to be a "proactive CEO." Meeting various entrepreneurs and CEOs from different companies, I was inspired by those who didn't sit and wait but actively understood their business and confidently communicated their vision. I aspire to be like that, and I convey to our employees that I am leading our second founding—realizing a strategy where we achieve unprecedented growth with new services—and operating the business with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Dedicate yourself to the task at hand

Looking back on my journey, I didn't start my career with grand ambitions, and not everything went smoothly. However, through both successes and failures, I've always kept in mind the idea of doing work that I can proudly talk about to my loved ones. I believe that the earnest dedication I've put into tackling what's in front of me has led me to where I am today. Since I became an ‍executive, I have been strongly mindful of, as we say in Japan, "the eyes of a bird, the eyes of an insect, and the eyes of a fish." To be able to look at things from a bird's-eye view and grasp the big picture, to consider matters from multiple angles, and to keep up with current trends and foresee upcoming changes, then to seriously engage with the task at hand and demonstrate leadership.

Please tell us the goals of PayPay Securities

We genuinely want to change the structure of investment in Japan. We are now at the starting point.

We feel that we have finally reached the starting point of what we have been aiming for.
Our collaboration with PayPay for customer acquisition is gradually solidifying, and we are establishing a foundation to play a pivotal role in the financial ecosystem. We launched "PayPay Invest" (*1) in Japan as the first initiative to allow investments on a payment app, and our pioneering service, "PayPay Earn Points" (*2), surpassed 10 million users.In terms of speed of user acquisition, we are growing significantly faster than our domestic competitors.
However, we do not want to be complacent.
I genuinely want to change the structure of investments in Japan. In Japan, investing still has a strong image of being a service for the wealthy. However, as shown in the "20 million yen for retirement" issue, perhaps the people who really should be investing are those who haven't started asset management yet and those who aren't interested in it.
With NISA and index funds, services are gradually permeating through the general public, but it's said that Japan has a quadrillion yen in savings and deposits lying dormant. According to the Bank of Japan's household financial assets statistics, stocks, mutual funds, etc. account for over 50% of household financial assets on average in the U.S., but only about 15% in Japan. On the other hand, cash and deposits account for over 50%. Financial literacy has been a long-standing issue. Given this kind of market, we at PayPay Securities want to pioneer user-friendly products and broaden our reach. We aim to be a securities company that is more customer-focused than any other. In my opinion, the essence of asset building is not just about saving and increasing money but also effectively using those assets for a fulfilling life. Everyone's definition of wealth is different, so a platform that easily facilitates the entire process of growing your assets is indeed appealing.

(*1) "PayPay Invest" is the mini app provided by PayPay Securities within the PayPay app, a service allowing easy access to asset management.
(*2) "Earn Points" has been provided by PPSC Investment Service Corporation (a wholly owned subsidiary of PayPay Securities).

We want to achieve top-of-mind awareness among investment beginners

From now on, we aim to make PayPay Securities the first name that comes to mind when beginners think of investment. With the new NISA system becoming permanent and the tax incentives expanding, in the next five to ten years, almost everyone will have and use a securities account, just like bank accounts today. Even for those who aren't interested now, using PayPay Securities can get them started with an investment, and we can contribute to their prosperous life, leading to the realization of their dreams. I think that's wonderful.

There's so much we want to do. We'll create "firsts" in the industry with a mix of proactive and defensive initiatives.

Ideas keep coming one after another. We have many winning strategies in mind, but it's essential not just to be on the offensive, we must also strengthen our defenses. To expand customer traffic from PayPay, the leading domestic payment service, we need to balance both aspects. We introduced a first-in-the-industry service offering investments on the payment app by utilizing e-money provided by Fund Transfer Operators. We want to continue taking up these kinds of challenges.

Please tell us about PayPay Securities' culture

We want to be a team that never, ever gives up

There are people from various backgrounds at PayPay Securities, but we nonetheless have an environment where everyone can openly communicate and voice their opinions. I also receive many opinions every day. Another important culture we want to instill is the "never, ever give up" mindset. To do something new in this industry requires that much determination. Although there could be countless reasons something might not work, we persevere in doing things others aren't doing. As PayPay grows at an overwhelming speed, PayPay Securities must also grow at the same or an even faster pace. Even if one idea fails, we want to be a tenacious team that thinks of the next steps and keeps trying.

Mindset is more important than knowledge

I have always believed that while knowledge of securities and expertise in new business is, of course, important, but a mindset willingly accepting challenges is crucial when developing a new business. The first important element in this process is communication skills. You must be able to think from the other person's perspective and communicate persuasively. Next is modesty. Be respectful to others and always be willing to learn. Also, be confident. Learn from experience, understand yourself through self-reflection, and have the confidence to overcome difficulties. Lastly, you should love to work. If you can enjoy personal growth through work, find new value, and are aware that your hard work leads to personal and business growth, as well as contributes to people, you will certainly thrive at PayPay Securities. If you resonate with the ambitious vision of PayPay Securities, why not join us? We are looking forward to working with people who have the passion to climb unscaled mountains with us.