Nomura aiming for greater presence in Asia

Mr Vikas Sharma, who is based in Singapore and Hong Kong, will oversee Nomura's wholesale business, which consists of its global markets and investment banking divisions.
Mr Vikas Sharma, who is based in Singapore and Hong Kong, will oversee Nomura's wholesale business, which consists of its global markets and investment banking divisions.ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

Broker sees region as extension of its home market in Japan, with China remaining key

Japan's biggest brokerage Nomura plans to build its Singapore-based macro business with clients including corporations and private banks, grow its business with hedge funds, and develop new opportunities in the credit business in China and South-east Asia.

The firm posted net income of US$2.2 billion (S$3 billion) for the 12 months to March 31, after its wholesale division benefited from a jump in trading of bonds and currencies, following Mr Donald Trump's United States presidential election victory.

The wholesale unit was also buoyed by fees from advising companies in a spate of mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

"We will build on our strong capabilities in structured credit. We are reasonably well positioned in cash equities and intend to expand our derivatives and hedge fund businesses," said Mr Vikas Sharma, the firm's head of Asia ex-Japan.

China remains the most important market in Asia for Nomura despite increased scrutiny on capital flows and outbound M&A from the country. Mr Sharma added: "We have to invest more in China."

He said the global investment bank is focused on building its presence in Asia because it sees the region as an extension of its home market in Japan.

"We have been in Asia ex-Japan for 50 years. We are the biggest retail player in Japan and we want to expand that business in Asia. In Thailand, we have about 600 people in our retail business. Last year, we launched an online brokerage with BDO in the Philippines. We expect to build up our retail capabilities in Asia.

EXPANDING RETAIL CAPABILITIES

We have been in Asia ex-Japan for 50 years. We are the biggest retail player in Japan and we want to expand that business in Asia... We expect to build up our retail capabilities in Asia.

MR VIKAS SHARMA, Nomura's head of Asia ex-Japan.

"We will also use our base in Asia to connect into Europe and the Americas, which also play a very key role."

Nomura has about 4,500 employees in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with most in London.

Formerly the firm's head of India, Mr Sharma's new appointment took effect on April 1. Based in Singapore and Hong Kong, he will oversee the wholesale business, which consists of its global markets and investment banking divisions. Nomura has more than 500 employees in Singapore.

Mr Sharma has over two decades of experience in banking, information technology services and consulting and began with Nomura in Hong Kong in August 1999.

Nomura also announced that Mr Rig Karkhanis has been named head of global markets, Asia ex- Japan. He will continue to be based in Singapore, where he earlier ran its Asia ex-Japan macro products business.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2017, with the headline 'Nomura aiming for greater presence in Asia'. Print Edition | Subscribe