Nomura to beef up US investment bank team

TOKYO • Nomura Holdings plans to hire banking executives in the United States, resuming a push to boost investment banking business in a market that remains a priority for Japan's biggest brokerage following a round of cost cuts.

The firm anticipates rising volumes of mergers and stock offerings in the US, said chief operating officer Tetsu Ozaki, who is seeking bank execs to cover industries that include technology, consumer and pharmaceuticals. While the brokerage has no clear numerical target, it has room to recruit 20, Mr Ozaki said in an interview.

His remarks reflect Nomura's strategy to selectively tap growth opportunities in the world's biggest investment banking market, even as it shrinks in areas such as equity research and leveraged finance.

Chief executive officer Koji Nagai this year began eliminating jobs and shutting businesses in Europe and the Americas to save about US$700 million (S$946 million) and stem six years of losses abroad. At the same time, he is seeking to regain lost ground in the area of cross-border mergers advice as Japanese firms increasingly look overseas for growth.

"There are tremendous business opportunities for mergers and acquisitions and currency hedging in the Americas," said Mr Ozaki, who took the post in a management shuffle in April. "Our clients will pay closer attention to the region over the next five to 10 years."

Mr Ozaki is reviving the hiring plans after Nomura posted its biggest pre-tax profit abroad in seven years for the quarter ended June 30, driven in part by fixed-income revenue from the US.

Global investment banking chief Kentaro Okuda outlined the firm's ambitions to hire executives in the US in an interview in December before investment banks globally had one of the worst quarters in years in what Mr Nagai described as a "rainstorm".

Nomura will seek to provide merger advice to mid-sized US companies - those with a market value of less than US$10 billion - and work on more cross-border deals involving Japanese firms, Mr Ozaki said. It also wants to manage more equity offerings and provide strategies for currency hedging for acquisitions, he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2016, with the headline 'Nomura to beef up US investment bank team'. Print Edition | Subscribe