Japan's "big bang" is starting to have a ripple effect on U.S. financial technology companies.
Amid Japan's move toward financial deregulation, SunGard Asset Management Systems, Wayne, Pa., announced it sold a multimillion-dollar package of global custody software to Yasuda Trust and Banking Co. of Tokyo.
The agreement is one of the first between a Japanese financial institution and a U.S. technology vendor for custody accounting. SunGard officials hope it will be a harbinger of agreements with other institutions in the newly liberalized and increasingly competitive Japanese market.
"Most institutional investors in Japan have been restricted in the amount of assets they could invest internationally," said James E. Ashton, general manager of Global Plus, the SunGard multicurrency custody asset management system formerly owned by Premier Solutions Inc.
"Now they can invest outside of Japan, and that is requiring a level of sophistication that may not have been there in the past," he said.
With $184 billion of custody assets, Yasuda regards global custody as strategically important.
SunGard Data Systems Inc., the parent of SunGard Asset Management, has been angling for a presence in the Japanese financial market for years.
The market for institutional equity in Tokyo has been estimated at more than $1.5 trillion, compared with more than $1 trillion in London and more than $900 billion in New York.
SunGard has had an office in Tokyo for five years. For eight years it has cultivated relations there in a marketing relationship between Mitsui Trading Co. and SunGard's Trading Systems Group.
The only user of Global Plus in Japan besides Yasuda is the Tokyo division of Union Bank of Switzerland. The global custody or trust divisions of five Japanese banks use Global Plus in their U.S. offices.
"We have the advantage of a head start and the fact that we are a known commodity," Mr. Ashton said. "Our view is that there will be a handful of technology players, and if anything, we underestimated the pace of change."
SunGard expects Yasuda's system to be available by yearend. The system uses International Business Machines Corp.'s AIX RS/6000 operating system and Oracle Corp.'s relational data base software.