Why a lot of people have little incentive to stay at Nomura

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Nomura's Japanese stock is not doing well. It is not doing well at all.

Since the end of May 2008, it has fallen 75%. Since April last year, it has fallen 40%. The Japanese earthquake compounded the problem: Nomura's stock plummeted 22% in the aftermath. It's recovered since, but not fully: the stock is still 17% lower than before the earthquake happened.

This leaves Nomura bankers who have stock in their employer with little incentive to hang about - particularly if they've been paid in options, which are underwater. Legacy Nomura bankers are particularly badly off.

Nomura's share pain is all the more acute given some other banks' stocks have been doing quite well.

Goldman's shares are up 2% on last year and down only 9% on 2008. JPMorgan's are up 3% on last year and up 8% on 2008.

However, one headhunter working for Nomura insists the stock price is really no big deal and another says it's only a "marginal issue." Optimistically, any Nomura stock issued to employees this year could at least have significant upside. If Nomura bankers keep telling themselves that, all should be fine.

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