Nomura eyes top bankers to push global expansion

Nomura Holdings Inc's Takumi Shibata is ready to poach top US bankers to fulfil his ambitious plan to turn Japan's top investment house into a global player.

Shibata, Nomura's Chief Operating Officer and architect of its international expansion, picked up the Asian and European businesses of failed Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers in late 2008. Barclays grabbed Lehman's US arm at the time, so Shibata's number one priority now is to plot a further US expansion.

Big institutional investors do not want to put all their eggs in one basket – the financial crisis showed it pays off to spread your risk. That means there is an opportunity for "new" entrants such as Nomura, Shibata said in an interview at Nomura's headquarters.

"Institutions need to diversify," said Shibata, adding that around a quarter of the entire US trading pie is up for grabs.

"The next several months are the weeding out," Shibata predicted. "Tightening spreads and a tightening regulatory environment will cause head winds for the industry."

That is because the easy money in bond trading has been made. And regulators are making noise about limiting proprietary trading, or trading for one's own account, jolting firms that dominate that business.

"It's only during difficult times that market share will move," Shibata said. The US market makes up half of the world's banking fees, so you have got to be there, he said.

Heading his to-do list is beefing up Nomura's US stock and bond trading businesses by adding more research and venturing into new areas such as convertibles. In all, Shibata sees US staffing jumping by a quarter to 2,000 in the financial year to March 2011.

The US expansion is meant to drive Nomura's ambitious target to derive three quarters of revenues from overseas in five years, up from 50 per cent now. Shibata wants to bring international revenue up to 60 percent in the next year.

Once Nomura has established a credible trading business, deals will follow, Shibata said, adding that it will take time.

 

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