In a challenging revenue environment, we will execute expeditious measures to improve earnings and reinforce our capabilities to provide high-quality and highly convenient products and services—a Group strength. With these efforts, we will realize sustainable growth for the Group overall and stable returns to shareholders.
Let me take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation to all stakeholders for the continued support and interest you have extended to the Sony Financial Group.
Since the January 2016 decision by the Bank of Japan to introduce “Quantitative and Qualitative Monetary Easing with a Negative Interest Rate”, long-term interest rates, which were already at a low level, have fallen even further. As a result, Sony Life and Sony Bank face a challenging business environment from a revenue perspective.
To address the underlying issues of this business environment, the Group will adopt an expeditious approach to at least maintain and ultimately improve revenues. Sony Life, in particular, is considering revenue enhancement options from every angle, including product strategies and sales strategies, based on enterprise risk management (ERM), and will steadily implement the necessary steps.
In fiscal 2015, ended March 31, 2016, the Group marked solid growth in business volume, reflecting a record high for Sony Life, fueled mainly by a new policy amount exceeding ¥5 trillion, as well as favorable results at Sony Bank, prompted by consistent demand for mortgage loans as well as the debut of new products, such as “Sony Bank WALLET”. Going forward, we remain committed to our basic policy for the sustainable improvement of corporate value through higher business volume. Toward this end, we will emphasize an enhanced Groupwide ability to provide high-quality products and services—a composite strength of the Sony Financial Group—and execute future-oriented growth investments.
At the same time, each company under the Group umbrella will move steadily forward to establish market presence in new business domains and promote new services. Sony Assurance and Sony Bank have quickly embraced information technology, a move that has already yielded positive results in the form of corporate growth. We believe that there is unlimited potential for providing new added value to our customers through user experiences that were previously unavailable.
As anticipated, we distributed annual dividends of ¥55 per share for fiscal 2015, up ¥15 over the previous fiscal year. This marked the fourth consecutive year of dividend increases. After taking into account the prevailing operating environment, we anticipate that this dividend level will be maintained for fiscal 2016. We aim, however, to steadily increase dividends in line with the financial soundness of each operating segment and revenue growth over the medium to long term.
It is our firm intention to work toward sustainable growth as a united corporate group and seek higher corporate value as we strive to contribute to the advancement of society as a whole.
President and Representative Director
Sony Financial Holdings Inc.