100 Next-Era Leaders in Asia 2017-2018 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Financial Design Inc.

CEO Shoji Imoto

Oita Prefecture
Message to young people
You should be willing to go through tough times when you are young. Rather than trying to gain something, you should think of how much you can offer to others. By doing so, I think you can establish a mutual trust and business will go well. It will make your life profitable and fruitful. And you should make mistakes when you are young since you will learn from your mistakes. By making mistakes, you will know the next time you are about to make a mistake. You can’t afford to make mistakes when you are older. Also, you should try many things when you are young. You can’t live your life without challenging yourself.

In 2009, I founded Financial Design, an insurance brokerage focusing on financial services after working at a bank and an insurance company. To resolve financial risks in life, we provide tailored financial planning services as clients’ partner, primarily to high net-worth individuals and more recently to medical companies.

While at the bank, I worked in loan operations and financial planning. By sharing my knowledge for smooth inheritances or minimizing taxes, I felt that clients appreciated what I offered. However, due to the bank’s system of having people rotate departments every two to three years, I was unable to follow through on deals with clients. I felt that I was not being responsible to my work, so I moved to an insurance company, where there was no rotation.

After five years, I decided to establish my firm, so that I could better follow through with my clients. Working for an insurance company means handling only that company’s products, and I felt that limited me in what I could offer. I wanted to handle various companies’ products, and felt it necessary to expand my business to offer better consulting services.

I started my own firm because I wanted to take care of my clients long term, even after I pass away, as a company. I’d like to follow through with our business with my clients’ children, as well as their grandchildren.

We work closely with our clients and become lifelong partners. In my business, “client first” really means client first and by following through on this, my clients have been loyal to me. I tell my staff not to focus on short-term profits, as that is likely to fail. From experience, I know that by genuinely working for client, we will be rewarded. Our philosophy of client first leads to profit and creates a win-win relationship.

As for my future dream, I want to establish in-house specialist offices in the areas of labor and social security, tax accounting and legal paperwork. By having these specialists in-house, things will move forward quickly since we can make a blueprint and identify issues before sharing them with outside specialists.

Currently, we are handling a lot of medical corporation’s inheritance matters. I published a book on this topic that has been receiving a lot of feedback and inquiries. At times, specialists are only familiar with their area of expertise, and that make for one-sided advice. Our role is to be client’s best partner and focus on their goals, as well as to act as a coordinator while bringing in specialists best qualified to resolve issues.

I also want to expand my business to serve foreigners living in Japan. We would like to look into couples such as expats in Japan with a Japanese spouse.” With knowledge on pension, social security and retirement, we can help assess clients’ needs and assist them in navigating relevant Japanese laws.

Company Profile

Financial Design Inc.
Financial planning, inheritance consultation, business succession, medical company, insurance services