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About Merlin

Services for: Global entity management

Provided in: Japan

Merlin Entertainments was looking to establish itself in Japan in around 2010, and realised it would need some assistance. More importantly, it needed advice from specialists who understood the challenges faced by foreign investors and who could give it practical solutions for day-to-day issues when doing business in Japan.

One such issue came up early in discussions between Merlin Entertainments and TMF Group. The company had heard that staffing can be a challenge in Japan. It was talking to TMF Group about writing employee rules when it heard – for the first time – that contracts had to stipulate that the employee should travel to work in the most economical way possible, because the employer has to cover commuting costs.

TMF Group provided payroll, accounting and tax compliance services, as well as a resident director to Merlin Entertainments when it first got up and running in Japan. One of TMF Group’s key roles has been to look after the Merlin Entertainments company seal. This is important, because in Japan the company seal gives the holder virtually unlimited rights; Merlin needs to be sure that the seal is being kept safely and trust that it is only affixed to documents once appropriately authorised.

We were looking for somebody who had experience of helping foreign investors enter Japan, able to give us some pointers about potential issues to watch out for. When we met the TMF Group team, we thought, ‘Here is a company that could really help us’. The team has been very helpful in giving us a truly independent, objective view.

Christine Dure-Smith, Strategic Finance Director, Merlin Magic Making, Merlin Entertainments plc

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