Dark fears pervade Nomura ahead of strategy announcement

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There is some feverish whispering going on at Nomura's London office this week. - Will Nomura pull out of Europe? Will it stop being a European booking hub and make huge swathes of its trading floor redundant? Will it layers of middle management be obliterated as London is downgraded as a regional headquarters...?

Aside from executives in Toko and a few very senior staff in London, no one really knows. All will become clear early tomorrow morning London time, when Nomura's Japanese head office is due to hold an investor forum.

Nomura isn't commenting on the content of tomorrow's revelations. The good news is that the closure of the London office is understood to be out of the question. The bad news is that this doesn't rule out the extraction of middle management or the downsizing of the London trading operation as its status as Nomura's global booking office comes to an end.

Nomura insiders say mid-level corporate functions and regional reporting lines are already being taken out. On Monday Nomura announced that Yuji Nakata, its head of group entity structure and co-chief risk officer was also becoming chief risk officer (CRO) for the investment bank and that Tomoyuki Teraguchi, head of group compliance, was also becoming chief compliance officer (CCO). The previous CRO and CCO are understood to be out of jobs as a result. Other London corporate function teams, such as Nomura's recruiters are also understood to have suffered significant job losses. 

The changes follow last week's Bloomberg report that Nomura is planning to shed 'more than 100' traders and bankers at its overseas units. Although one London trading MD told us last week that the cuts were simply the delayed manifestation of layoffs announced in January, a director in global markets said today that the cuts have already been "way more" than expected and that half his team has gone.

Fears that the London global markets business will be heavily downsized as Nomura rethinks is model may not be unfounded. The Japanese bank has traditionally operated a back to back booking model, in which global trades are booked in London. However, Nomura's Tokyo-based CEO Koji Nagai said in December that Nomura plans to stop booking its global trades in London and that city's 3,000-strong workforce may therefore be a "little large."

Nomura also has yet to pay bonuses for 2018. As one of the last banks to announce, its staff are kept hanging longer than others. This year, there are fears that it won't be worth the wait. 

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