Nomura plans to further expand Singapore and Hong Kong wealth hubs

Nomura has already hired more than 50 relationship managers from banks targeting Asia's wealth management revenue pool. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - Nomura Holdings is steadily building its global wealth management business and plans to further expand its Singapore and Hong Kong hubs, as Japan's biggest securities firm accelerates a push into a highly competitive sector.

Just over a year after Nomura snagged Mr Ravi Raju to spearhead its ambitions in the wealth operations, the veteran banker has led a hiring spree as part of the firm's efforts to diversify from its home market and capture a slice of an affluent and growing pool of Asian clients.

"All the studies done by external experts show that wealth in Asia is going to be growing at 8 per cent to 10 per cent on a yearly basis. The pie is growing and our piece of the pie is also expanding," Mr Raju, the Singapore-based head of Nomura's international wealth management unit, told Reuters in an interview.

Nomura has already hired more than 50 relationship managers from banks including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas, targeting Asia's wealth management revenue pool, which a Boston Consulting Group report in June said will soar faster than any other market worldwide, nearly doubling over the next five years to US$52 billion (S$70.5 billion).

"We had a good first 12 months. As we have expanded with more relationship managers and they are onboarding their clients, our assets under management will continue to grow," said Mr Raju, adding that the business was also growing from Nomura's existing bankers and clients.

Over the past 12 months, Nomura added a record total of about 600 new customers in its global wealth management unit, said Mr Raju.

However, he has his work cut out as Nomura is not even in the top 20 ranks of private banks in Asia for 2020, according to industry publication Asian Private Banker.

Banks such as HSBC and Standard Chartered are also doubling down on Asian private banking to boost growth as they compete with Swiss giants UBS and Credit Suisse.

Nomura's international wealth assets have risen to US$13 billion currently from US$8 billion in September 2020 and Mr Raju said it is targeting to manage US$25 billion to US$35 billion by March 2025.

He said Nomura could offer clients access to private placements by Japanese firms and also potential Japanese investments into Asian companies.

"In the next two years, we are looking at hiring another 50 relationship managers, taking our total to between 135 and 150," he said, adding that a majority of the hired bankers focus on clients from Greater China, where the ranks of the wealthy are soaring.

While Singapore and Hong Kong are Nomura's key wealth centres for Asia, it is also seeking to expand elsewhere.

"In the next six to 12 months, we'll look at the feasibility of placing people in Dubai as a marketing centre for our Middle East business," said Mr Raju.

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