Success Stories

Sanford C. Bernstein Japan KK (December 2023)

Michael W. Parker Sanford C. Bernstein Japan KK
Representative Director
Interviewer: Financial Services Agency
(September 2023)

Company Profile
Company: Sanford C. Bernstein Japan KK
Established: June 14th, 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. 3387

The logo of Sanford C. Bernstein: A/B BERNSTEIN

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

Sanford C. Bernstein Japan KK ("SCBJ") is part of Bernstein Research and its proposed business is to provide research reports and investment advice to the clients. Bernstein Research, which is part of the AllianceBernstein group’s broker dealer division, is the world’s largest independent equity research house. A core part of Bernstein Research’s offering to clients is research featuring global collaboration between analysts in the U.S., Europe, and Asia addressing structural shifts within the Technology, Healthcare, Industrial Technology, and Consumer sectors. Given the systemic importance of many Japanese companies within these sectors, Bernstein Research believes it is important to have a presence in Tokyo to research these investment opportunities.

SCBJ was established as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the AllianceBernstein group of companies. Bernstein Research includes entities in the United States (Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC), the United Kingdom (Bernstein Autonomous LLP), Hong Kong (Sanford C. Bernstein (Hong Kong) Limited), India (Sanford C. Bernstein (India) Private Limited), and Singapore (Sanford C. Bernstein (Singapore) Private Limited), which are licensed or authorized as broker dealers and/or investment advisers in their respective jurisdictions. SCBJ provides high quality investment research to the off-shore Bernstein entities mainly and qualified institutional investors in Japan, together with intermediation for investment advisory contracts.


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

We initially became aware of the Investment Advisory and Agency Business registration from clients, advisors and some of our competitors who had entered the Japanese market. We then spoke to some lawyers to determine if the registration was appropriate for the business we envisaged conducting in Japan.

Since SCBJ was a new entrant to the Japan financial market, we appreciated the opportunity to engage with the application process in English. In particular, our initial meetings with the FMEO were very helpful in our understanding of the procedure to be followed in seeking registration. Being able to present to the FMEO in English and understand their requirements and expectations, was very helpful for the process. We were also able at our meeting to test our understanding of the published guidebook, etc. and understand better the regulatory expectations.

From left, Shoetsu Hojo (Director, Head of Compliance), Michael W. Parker (Representative Director)

3. What are Sanford C. Bernstein Japan’s visions for the future?

Sanford C. Bernstein (Hong Kong) Limited currently covers only a limited number of Japanese stocks. By having a team based in Japan, the depth and quality of our local market understanding will continue to expand. SCBJ will be able to cover entire Japanese sectors and provide a Japanese perspective on global controversies.

I am based in London but is in regular contact with the Tokyo team. Additionally, I come to Japan once every few months to meet with clients and to continue our recruitment efforts. SCBJ’s business plan involves, hiring 5-6 senior research analysts, and hopefully total of 15-20 research professionals over the next few years in Tokyo to cover Healthcare, Consumer, Semiconductors, Industrial Technology, and the Internet/Media sectors. These individuals are likely to be industry veterans or consultants with a deep understanding, experience and network within the sectors we cover.

We are excited to build out our coverage of Japanese companies and to integrate that research within our global offering.


Michael W. Parker
Sanford C. Bernstein Japan KK, Representative Director

Michael W. Parker is Head of APAC and EMEA Research at Bernstein , based in London. From 2018 to 2022, Michael was the Director of Asia Research in Hong Kong, and served as the firm’s Asia Strategist between 2014 and 2018. Michael joined Bernstein in New York in 2009 as Senior Analyst covering the Asia Coal, Power, and Renewables sectors, moving to Hong Kong in 2010 with the launch of the Asia business. Earlier in his career, Michael worked for renewable energy company First Solar in New York and for PricewaterhouseCoopers in New Zealand and San Francisco. Michael holds an MBA from New York University and a law degree and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.


"Miki, can you share your story of joining SCBJ, and your thoughts about the importance of having industry specialists as research analysts?"


As I had never worked in the financial industry, I was initially not fully confident whether I can deliver equity research that be of value to our clients, without much experience or knowledge of the financial industry. However, through interactions with investors since the coverage initiation, I have understood that an equity analyst brings a spike in one or two areas rather than covering everything, which, in my case, having in-depth and conversant knowledge of the pharma industry. As I was investing in pharma stocks when I was working in the industry, I became familiar with how pharma companies’ stock price moves with news such as clinical trial data announcement. I found that the skills I gained through working as management consultant at McKinsey & Company were very useful for the analyst work such as building story lines, designing analysis and developing client deliverables. Also Bernstein’s working model where an analyst with strong coverage industry background works with associates with solid financial acumen has filled my knowledge gap.

Having industry specialists as research analyst is the differentiation that Bernstein has over other sell side firms. We believe that a Bernstein analyst’s value is to provide investors with industry/company insights that are based on one’s actual industry experience. I am often impressed by investors’ deep understanding about the biopharma sector that I cover. Their diligence is admirable. Having said, even those most sophisticated and knowledgeable investors often have unrealistic views of what companies would decide or do, or what is known to the company vs what is not (i.e., level of uncertainty in business). As an industry specialist, I help our clients get clarity on those points.


Miki Sogi
Sanford C. Bernstein Japan KK, Director/Senior Research Analyst

Miki Sogi is a senior research analyst covering Japan Biopharma and based in Tokyo. She joined Bernstein in 2022 and initiated her coverage in 2023. Prior to joining Bernstein, she spent 15 years in the biopharma sector, 10 years working for multinational pharma companies in the US and Japan and 5 years serving Japanese and global biopharma companies as a McKinsey & Company consultant. Her academic background is also deeply related to the biopharma industry that she currently covers: She completed her Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Harvard University and B.Sc. at University of Tokyo, and worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the US.