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

Aristagora Advisors

Chairman & CEO Takeshi Shinoda

Ishikawa Prefecture
Message to young people
The younger generation today doesn’t seem to have the will to grow. It is probably because Japan became rich and people no longer need to seek further improvement in life. But, there is no happiness without growth. In the early stages of your life, you should envision a future picture of your life, have a sense of curiosity and work very, very hard. That’s the way to keep the will to grow yourself, and I think that’s the way to gain genuine richness and happiness. Even if you fail, you will learn something from it. Don’t be afraid to take chances.

Unlike today, it was not easy to go abroad when I was growing up. Not only were there few young people with a global mindset, it was also quite expensive. However, I had strong curiosity and a deep passion to be engaged in international work. I thought it would be interesting to see a whole different world. So, I did a homestay in the U.S. during the summer break of my sophomore year in university. The ordinary daily life of a typical American family that I experienced was something special that would be available in Japan only to a wealthy few. I touched on genuine richness, and was shocked by the huge differences between Japan and the U.S. After graduating from university, I landed a job at Komatsu Ltd., which had offices worldwide. I quit four years later, as I was not engaged in the international work I had hoped for. After that, I moved to Nikko Securities with a request to be part of the global staff, and was assigned to work in New York as a foreign exchange dealer. The seven years I spent there is a great treasure in my life. As I was a man of curiosity, I always went to events and meetings where many people gathered. That helped me make many friends from Wall Street that I am still in touch with, while also helping me build self-confidence. Those friends are now top players in the financial sector, as well as other industries. The seven years I spend there made me what I am now.

After coming back to Japan, I worked in management at foreign investment banks such as Dresdner Kleinwort Japan, ING Bearing Japan and BNP Paribas Japan. At the age of 50, I decided to quit working for someone else and created my own company to do something only I can do. In my 40s, I learned about private banks in Switzerland, and was impressed with their services and business policies. I formed my own company because I wanted to offer Japanese people more opportunities to experience global, especially the world’s top-ranked, financial services.

From the early days when I was a student until today, information and technology has evolved at an unbelievable pace. As IT made the whole world smaller, it made it easier to communicate with people. Today, a wealthy person in the U.K. can make an investment, via social network services, based on a business idea of a student in Hong Kong. In other words, it is now much easier to take on global challenges. Today is the time when the chance for success is everywhere for everyone.

You could be happy when you are only halfway to the top, without taking the risk of going too far. That is one way to live your life and it is up to you. But you only live your life once. If possible, I want you to keep trying to grow yourself all the time, to go all the way to the top. That could be the first step in paving the way to happiness.


Aristagora Advisors
Asset management, corporate finance