Success Stories

Frontier Advisors Japan GK (August 2023)

Yuichi Takayama Representative in Japan, Frontier Advisors Japan GK
Interviewer: Financial Services Agency
(May 2023)

Company Profile
Company: Frontier Advisors Japan GK
Established: July 2022
Main Business: Financial Instruments Business (Investment Advisory and Agency Business)
Financial Instruments Business Operator: The Director-General of Kanto Local Finance Bureau (FIBO) No. 3377

The logo of Frontier Advisors Japan GK: Frontier Advisors

1. Frontier Advisors' entry into Japan

Congratulations on your completion of the Investment Advisory and Agency Business registration. Could you give us an overview of your company?

Frontier Advisors is Australia's leading independent institutional investment consultancy, and is owned by four Australian superannuation funds. Since our inception in 1994, we have advised a range of Australian asset owners and now provide advice on more than AUD 600 billion (approximately JPY 53 trillion) of funds under management as at the end of March 2023. Investors include superannuation (pension) funds, charities, the public sector, insurance companies and higher education institutions such as universities. Frontier Advisors Pty Ltd is registered in Australia with the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) as an investment adviser.

To date, Frontier Advisors has exclusively provided investment advice and other asset management consulting services to Australian institutional investors. It has focused on investment advice on traditional assets such as equities and bonds, as well as alternative assets such as infrastructure and real estate. The proactive approach of Australian superannuation funds, particularly in the area of infrastructure, along with almost thirty years of research and analysis, has enabled us to accumulate information on the investment products of a large number of investment managers. We would like to provide the investment expertise we have developed in Australia to institutional investors outside Australia, such as those in Japan.

When did you start thinking about expanding into Japan?

We had been researching business opportunities outside Australia with annual business trips to Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries since 2014. From 2018, a total of nearly 10 people, including the consultancy team, real asset team and investment strategy team, continued to explore this with an increased frequency of business trips to Japan. As a result, we were convinced that the new market most suited to the type of insights we can provide was Japan. The main reasons were the size of the market, the diversity of potential investors and the growing interest in real assets, especially infrastructure investment. In this promising Japanese market, we saw a need for more complete advice on real assets including infrastructure, which is one of our strengths. Just as we were getting ready to enter the Japanese market, a global pandemic broke out and we had to postpone our plans. However, we remained committed to entering the Japanese market and continued our preparations.

There were several ways a business like ours could try to enter the Japanese market, but we felt it was essential to establish a Japanese office and register our business in Japan to show that we were serious about doing business in Japan. We are very pleased that we have finally completed the business registration for our Japanese subsidiary and can now start our business in Japan.

Pictured from monitor: Andrew Polson (CEO, Frontier Advisors (Australia)/ Executor of duties, Frontier Advisors Japan), left side of monitor: Yuichi Takayama (Representative in Japan, Frontier Advisors Japan)

2. English registration procedures through the Financial Market Entry Office (FMEO) and the Financial Start-up Support Program

What was your impression about the all-in English registration process by the Financial Market Entry Office (FMEO)?

As mentioned above, Frontier Advisors has been researching the idea of opening an office in Japan since 2014, with the team travelling to Japan every year. In 2018 we stepped up our research, but unfortunately at that time there was no support by FMEO or the special FSA English website for International Financial Center, the Guidebook for Registration nor the Financial Start-up Support Program, so it was difficult to find information, especially in English.

After we decided to enter the Japanese market, we found out we could register our business in English through the Financial Market Entry Office (FMEO), which we took very positively as this removed the language barrier. In fact, the FMEO assisted us with open communication in English with our staff in Australia throughout the registration process. The FMEO is made up of members from diverse backgrounds, which enabled appropriate and prompt business-oriented support with regard to the business Frontier Advisors was trying to register. Now, there is more published material in English available, including Guidebooks and websites, which we appreciate very much, as our communications with the Australian head office are in English.

What are your impressions of the Financial Start-up Support Program, by JFSA and Tricor Japan?

After connecting with FMEO and Tricor Japan, we felt reassured that we had someone to turn to if we had any problems, not to mention the actual support and rebates of the cost. The financial support was a big relief in terms of the cost of setting up the business, as everything is new to us in Japan and it is difficult to predict the time and costs involved in registering a business. For a new entrant from abroad like us, who would have no revenue on Day 1, the subsidy provided by the program was very significant and helpful.


3. Frontier Advisors' visions for the future

How does Frontier Advisors' Australian head office and the Japan subsidiary work together?

Thanks to video conferencing, there are frequent communications between the Japan office and the Australian head office, where the time difference is relatively small. The seven department heads, including Andrew the CEO of the firm, and Takayama our Japan representative, have a 30-minute stand-up early morning meeting every Thursday, as well as a longer multi-hour meeting once a month to discuss future business plans and strategies. In addition, as Andrew is the reporting line for the Japan office, Andrew and Takayama have hour-long meetings every Friday to discuss the Japan business. In addition, Takayama constantly updates and shares information with the research department, including the real assets team.

We believe that the key to our future business success will be to closely link our Japanese subsidiary, which is the contact point for Japanese investors, with our Australian head office, which can act as a source of global investment-related information.

What are Frontier Advisors Japan's visions for the future?

Frontier Advisors Japan wants to provide Japanese institutional investors with investment advice under an investment advisory agreement, using our database of managers and funds. In the future, we are also considering to set up funds for investors who do not invest directly, in collaboration with investment managers who are engaged in the discretionary investment business. We would also like to provide web-based tools for analyzing the underlying assets of the funds which we provide advice to.

In the future, we would like Frontier Advisors Japan to have an analysis function for investment opportunities in Asia and distribute the analysis globally. To this end, we would like to actively promote our business model at physical events in Japan.

While Frontier Advisors could take what has been built in Australia and bring it into Japan, we would like to go beyond that by providing opportunities for people from both Australia and Japan to work across countries and stimulate and deepen each other's understanding of business and client needs in different markets. We really want our whole team and businesses in both countries to grow.

By playing our part in developing more specialized skills in the market, we are happy to contribute to the development of human resources in Japan.


Yuichi Takayama
Representative in Japan, Frontier Advisors Japan GK

Representative and head of Frontier Advisors Japan GK, the Japanese subsidiary of Frontier Advisors. He is responsible for the planning and implementation of Frontier Advisors' Japan business and the investment advisory business for Japanese institutional investors. In addition to the Japan business, he is also responsible for developing the long-term strategy for the company's long-term Asia business.

Prior to joining Frontier Advisors, he worked for Nikko Asset Management and Tokio Marine Asset Management, where he was involved in overseas business, including the distribution of Japanese and Asian equity funds to overseas institutional investors. Prior to joining Tokio Marine Asset Management, he managed foreign equities at the former Mitsui Trust & Banking (now Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank) and Mizuho Trust & Banking, and worked mainly in London from 1998 to 2013.

BA (Economic) from Keio University and MBA from Cass Business School, City University London. He established the Japan Chapter of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analysts (CAIA) Association in 2016 as Chapter Head. He is a Certiļ¬ed Member Analyst of the Securities Analysts Association of Japan and a Financial Risk Manager certified by GARP Association.


Andrew Polson.
Chief Executive Officer, Frontier Advisors Pty Ltd
Frontier Advisors Japan G.K. Executor of duties

He is the executor of duties of Frontier Advisors Japan and the chief executive of the head office. He has almost 30 years of experience working in the financial sector, mostly in asset management related roles, with experience working for asset management companies such as IOOF and ANZ Bank, as well as banks and other financial institutions and institutional investors He joined Frontier Advisors in 2018 as Chief Executive Officer. Since joining, he has led the company's team of consultants in building and strengthening relationships with superannuation (pension funds) in Australia, introducing new services such as ESG and fund governance.

BA (Commerce), La Trobe University, 1994; MA (Marketing), Melbourne Business School, Melbourne University, 1998.