Whoever thinks bankers are uncaring, self-serving materialists with an eye only to their next bonuses, might have their perception shaken by the support extended to the forsaken folk of Nomura. Since losing their jobs less than two weeks ago, Nomura's senior staff - many of whom were well known figures in the City of London - have been deluged with messages of support by well-wishers.
Clive Hadingham, Nomura's former head of real money sales, was the first to spot the trend. When he posted on LinkedIn that he'd been let go, Hadingham was inundated with offers of help and coffee by people he'd worked with during his 14 year City career, prompting him to marvel at the response.
Hadingham's post has since been taken down, but something similar happened to Tom Pelc, Nomura's former co-head of macro-technical strategy. Pelc spent 29 years working in the City and when he posted a week ago that his career at Nomura was at an end, over 100 people posted messages of consolation and he received over 200 emails in a similar vein - both from clients and colleagues. "I was shocked at the response," said Pelc, who said he might end up working for a client instead.
While the 100+ people who left Nomura are finding their feet elsewhere, those who survived the cull are feeling vaguely optimistic. One salesperson points out that Nomura has finally addressed the costly back office functions that contributed to its historic cost problem. A senior trader said the staff and desks who remain are, "the ones who are producing."
"In a sense, Nomura simply had the courage to do what other banks will probably need to do too," said the trader. " - To get out of unprofitable flow activities where they don't have a competitive advantage and can't make profits, and to focus on the areas where they can."
He says the next question will be whether Nomura can run a profitable solutions and structuring business without a flow business. In the meantime, Nomura remains a good place for entrepreneurial traders who are willing to take risk and who want to eat more of what they kill: "A $ made at Nomura is probably worth two or three times as much to a trader as a $ made at JPMorgan."
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