Dear Members of FIA Japan,
Each year the arrival of spring brings FIA's Annual Futures Industry Conference to Boca Raton, and the shimmering beauty of cherry blossoms to Japan. Spring is traditionally a season of great significance and vibrant activity for both individuals and organizations in Japan: students graduate and search for their first jobs, while companies close their books for fiscal year-end, welcome new graduates into their ranks, and launch new corporate strategies. Spring is a forward-looking and constructive season, and as I reflect on the annual reawakening it brings, I'm sure it's connected with the joy we Japanese feel when our country is filled with these subtle yet extravagant blossoms.
For FIA Japan as well, this year marks an important turning point, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of our Association. Looking back at our history, we have come a long way from the less formal voluntary association set up in 1988 to the current officially registered Association. And it wasn‘t a straight road either, as we continuously evolved to adapt to changes in our industry, from a focus on commodity futures to financial derivatives. The expansion of markets offering risk management was pioneered with the creation of futures trading in the rice market of Osaka-Dojima in Japan. Thereafter, markets started to open internationally as the trend for free trade expanded along with the needs to manage risk. Technological innovations and a fast development paved the way for our current global markets without borders and time-difference restrictions. During that time, global derivatives market volumes showed some rather remarkable developments, with high-levels of liquidity and transparency. Of course, there were issues along the way, but they were faced positively by the industry as they unfolded, resulting in new synergies and further development of the markets. Currently, the next important issue to tackle is how to further expand trading as our markets continue to be more international, thanks to the reliability they offer with clearing and protection funds for participants.
As mentioned above, derivatives markets are no longer separated national markets, but rather open global markets, providing a place for risk management and fair price discovery, without border and time limitations for participants. Accordingly, the global cooperation initiatives to amend local laws and regulations taken by each national regulator have a great impact on market development. As an example in Japan, new regulations on HFT (or HST- High Speed Trading, as it is known here) have been developed in the last couple of years, following the enactment of the amended Financial Instrument and Exchange Act (FIEA), and will come into force in April 2018. FIA Japan has been involved throughout that time, issuing public comments to the regulator when possible. In addition to focusing on investor protection, the new regulations, as we understand them, aim at a continued orderly market development and increased liquidity, which is the core of any market, while keeping in line with international cooperation agreements in various fields. I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the members of FIAJ Principal Trading Group for their contributions.
Most recently, the Board of FIA Japan has approved the establishment of a Virtual Currency Committee providing a forum for discussion on the development of market structures and applicable market environments, related to the Virtual Currency Derivatives Markets in Japan.
In the new fiscal year, FIA Japan will continue to endeavor towards increased benefits for its members in the various fields of the derivatives industry. We look forward to and welcome your active participation.