Nomura trims Asia equities team

Dozens of jobs axed as Japan's largest brokerage scales back operations in overseas markets

TOKYO • Nomura Holdings has cut 30 jobs from its Asia (excluding Japan) equities division, as Japan's largest brokerage reorganises its operations under its new Asia-Pacific head, Mr James O'Neile.

The restructuring came after a dozen job cuts at its Asia investment banking unit last month.

Nomura is also eliminating jobs at its investment banking division outside Japan as it scales back operations in markets including Switzerland, eastern Europe and the US. It cut 25 jobs in Europe and 20 in the US in addition to the 12 job cuts at its Asia division last month.

Nomura will also stop providing leveraged financing for buyout deals in the United States, exiting a potentially lucrative business that can also weigh on earnings in volatile markets, people familiar with the matter said. Private-equity firms will still remain core clients for the firm, they said.

Nomura is reducing its presence overseas as market volatility and stricter regulations hamper its efforts to return to profit outside of Japan. The reorganisation under Mr O'Neile comes as separate memos said two executives in the equities division were leaving the firm.

Mr O'Neile was promoted to the new post, which is in addition to his existing responsibilities for Japan cash-equity sales for Asia ex-Japan, according to company memos.

Mr Takashi Kojima, while remaining as head of Japan cash-equity sales in Singapore, will also head Asian cash-equity sales to Japanese institutional clients here.

Mr Kenji Yamashita, a spokesman for Nomura, declined to comment.

Other international banks are also reconsidering their US investment banking strategy.

Australia's Macquarie Group shed close to 15 per cent of its investment banking workforce this month to replenish its ranks with star performers in North America, sources said.

Macquarie has focused in the last few years on advising on and financing private-equity deals, as a way to gain investment banking market share with corporate America. But most of its layoffs targeted industry coverage rather than leveraged buyout bankers.

The job cuts came as Macquarie merged several industry groups in its investment banking division, the people said on Wednesday.

Macquarie made its debut as the top bookrunner of loans backing US private-equity buyouts in the league tables for the first quarter of this year, as market volatility and regulation designed to curb risky lending weighed on traditional lenders.

Meanwhile, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Britain's largest taxpayer-owned lender, is planning to eliminate about 600 jobs as it closes branches and will probably discuss further cuts with employees. French bank BNP Paribas is also in the process of eliminating 675 jobs. BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

Nomura is reducing its presence overseas as market volatility and stricter regulations hamper its efforts to return to profit outside of Japan. The reorganisation under Mr O'Neile comes as separate memos said two executives in the equities division were leaving the firm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2016, with the headline 'Nomura trims Asia equities team'. Print Edition | Subscribe