Nomura continues aggressive U.S. push with planned senior hires

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Nomura is doing its whole hiring while firing thing. After cutting 12 equities jobs in Asia earlier this week, the Japanese bank announced plans to hire as many as 20 senior M&A bankers in the U.S. and at home.

The move represents a clear second effort by Nomura to grow in the U.S., with a particular focus on advisory. The bank tried and failed to buy the U.S. arm of Lehman Brothers back in 2008 (that would have been interesting), then staffed up using more of a piecemeal approach before eventually retrenching. But it has spent the better part of the last two years staffing up in the West once again.

Nomura employed 2,421 people in the Americas as of September, up 178 year-over-year, according to Bloomberg. But, unlike other banks that are hiring in the U.S., Nomura isn’t being cheap and just adding juniors to replace more expensive grey hairs. The 20 hires will all be managing directors and executive directors. The bank made a similar poaching rush last October, hiring away 15 senior staffers in the Americas.

Clearly, Nomura is banking on another great year in M&A in the U.S. The question will be whether they can compete on the same level as U.S. banks and more established European firms with deeper U.S. roots.

The hiring comes just a month after Nomura announced plans to open a Los Angeles office early this year. The details are a bit slim, but it will launch as a sales office only but with the hope of growing it into a fully functioning investment bank down the road.

“We have to be careful not to go in and then go out again because, unfortunately, we have a reputation for not being that consistent,” Atsushi Yoshikawa, Nomura’s president and the head of its investment bank, said last year. Maybe this style of growth is “careful,” but it sure is aggressive, particularly with most competitors headed in the other direction.

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