In 2017 Japanese firm TORANOTEC Ltd., through its wholly owned subsidiary TORANOTEC Asset Management Ltd., launched a new small-value investment service called TORANOKO.
While Japan has a culture of saving, many Japanese people are reluctant to invest their money, so one of the core areas of focus for the business was lowering the psychological barriers to investment.
Moneytree was engaged to help the business access and analyse users’ shopping data.
TORANOKO is a service that automatically turns small changes from daily shopping into investment funds, so users can invest in small increments. It is designed to be simple and easy, appealing to beginner investors.
Users can choose from three different investment funds, depending on their risk tolerance. Asset management is based on a model portfolio created by an experienced fund manager and the funds have a strong track record.
TORANOKO calculates change based on the user’s credit card and electronic shopping transactions, and the total amount of change for one month is automatically deducted from the user's bank account into an investment. Change is made available from as little as 1 yen.
An innovative feature of the service is that users can also turn their airline miles into investments. Research shows that as a nation, Japan has a points culture, with 1-2 trillion yen worth of points issued every year, currently totalling 100 billion yen. As so many points are wasted, TORANOKO offered a solution to this problem.
There are parallels here with the Australian market, as research shows that 80% of Australians are members of at least one loyalty program. Qantas Frequent Flyers, Woolworths Rewards, Velocity Frequent Flyer and Flybuys all have over one million active users. Most Australian credit cards also offer reward programs, with the average Australian sitting on around 50,000 points.
When TORANOTEC analysed the user base for TORANOKO, it found that more than 60% of users were inexperienced investors. This showed the business had succeeded in its goal of making investing more accessible to beginner investors. At the same time, more than 10% of users have more than five years of investment experience, so the tool is also providing a valuable service to those who have previously invested.
The business continues to receive positive feedback from users, particularly around the ability to utilise ‘sleeping’ points, which is its most popular feature.
“Our experience of partnering with Moneytree has been a positive one. Both TORANOKO and Moneytree’s consumer app are targeted at people who are just starting out on their investment journey, so the two businesses have a great deal in common. We also agree with the concept of data portability that Moneytree advocates."
“Moneytree allows users to understand their consumption and assets, and those users will also consider investment as the next step. We would like to collaborate further with Moneytree in the future and continue to create new and different financial services together.”
Justin Baroque, President and CEO, TORANOTEC Ltd.