Nomura to close some operations in Europe

Reuters with
Nomura trimming operations in Europe

Nomura Holdings announced on Tuesday it will restructure its business in Europe and the Americas, closing some operations in Europe. The bank will focus on its core business in the Americas, and will announce further details later this month.

People familiar with the matter told Reuters that Japan's biggest brokerage plans to cut between 500-600 jobs, mainly in its European cash equities business, as it tries to stem years of heavy losses racked up in its long-term drive to become a major global industry player,

Some jobs will also go in Nomura's global markets division in the Americas, the people said, and it wasn't immediately clear whether Nomura will shut down its European cash equities operation entirely. The people declined to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The retreat signals a heavy blow for Nomura management's international ambitions. The brokerage bought Lehman Brothers equities and investment banking business in Europe and Asia in 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis, as part of a concerted strategy to expand from its domestic stronghold and become a major force in international finance.

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The move comes as other big institutions also scale back in international cash equities due to sluggish trading volumes and rising costs against a backdrop of jitters about the global economy. British lender Barclays has closed its cash equities business in Asia, Asia-focused Standard Chartered closed its equities franchise and Societe Generale shut its India equities research desk.

Nomura's overseas business is set to report for a sixth straight annual pretax loss for the year ended March 2016. Between October-December 2015 alone, the overseas business lost $173 million.

Joey Wu, a spokeswoman for Nomura based in Tokyo, declined to comment.

As of Dec. 31, Nomura had 3,433 employees in Europe, company data shows, just over 10 percent of its global workforce of 29,069. Over half of its total employees are based in Japan.

News of the planned cuts was reported earlier by Bloomberg. Nomura shares climbed as much as 7.4 percent in Tokyo trading and were up 6.6 percent at 0418 GMT, compared with a 1.2 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei average.