The 'Vanguard Robo-Advisor' in Japan
I wanted to like MSV Life, I really did.
After all, it's a collaboration between Vanguard and some Japanese firms (Monex and Saison), it has low minimum investments (just 10,000 yen to open an account) and slightly lower fees (just under 1%) than some robos in Japan, and although they are a bit late (#4 to the game) I was hoping it was a case of 'save the best for last'.
I got about half-way through applying for an account before giving up in the face of stupidity.
The application starts normally, asking you to go through a simulation and answer some general questions. I had to go back and re-answer questions in order to get the settings i wanted unfortunately :)
Then came the personal information section. Strike one:
They only accept kanji, and even have a little guide to the kanji that they accept (and those they don't). I could have put my alias kanji in there, but for most people with a non-Japanese name this is extremely obnoxious on the part of large international institutions.
Not a complete deal-breaker. That came next:
They only accept transfers from four banks, and expect you to open a new account just to deal with them. The arrogance astounds me. This is the fifth robo-advisor company I have applied to in Japan, and the only one that has requirements like these.
So I give up. I wanted to open an account and see how they stack up to the other robos (see the Robo-Advisor page for more details) but I am not going to jump through the hoops they have set up: calling them up to ask if I can apply despite not having a kanji name and making a whole new bank account just in order to deal with them.
Just for the record, the rest of the application process seemed normal: send them a scan of your driving license and My Number information, then confirm your address and contact details.
Once the account is open you would have a session with an advisor (I think this is a person) to figure out your portfolio, then sign the contract with them. This is different to other robos, and might be a positive to some people (or a hurdle, as presumably it would be done in Japanese).
So unfortunately I will not be able to rank them against the current table:
#3 8 Now! (low due to inferior service)
#4 Wealth Navi (just because of the large minimum investment)
I suspect they would end up in 2-3 place, as the interface and website design is not anywhere near as user-friendly as THEO, and depending on the service they might be better than Rakuten or not.
If you already have a Monex account I think you can just click to start using MSV Life, so that might be a more reasonable option.
What do you think? Does anyone have an MSV Life account? Am I being too harsh?