Sun, Apr 21, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Nomura CEO vows to keep the brokerage independent


Nomura Holdings Inc CEO Koji Nagai vowed to keep Japan’s biggest brokerage independent and quickly implement his latest turnaround plan as a slumping share price puts the question of a potential merger in focus.

“We cherish the strengths and utility that we have through our independence as a Japanese financial group,” Nagai said in an interview in Tokyo on Friday. “It’s not going to happen that we’ll become part of a financial company elsewhere. We’re not thinking about such a thing.”

Nagai, 60, this month unveiled plans to cut US$1 billion of expenses from Nomura’s struggling global trading and investment banking business, a move that has already resulted in dozens of job cuts worldwide.

Nomura is among firms worldwide that have been battling to compete with Wall Street banks since the global financial crisis, prompting some to consider mergers as a solution.

Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG are in talks on a potential deal as the German government seeks a “national champion” for its exporters.

Yet, Nagai doused any speculation for a similar move in Japan, saying he was not interested in teaming up the 94-year-old brokerage with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, the nation’s biggest bank.

Mitsubishi already has an investment banking alliance with Morgan Stanley and is the US firm’s largest shareholder.

Nagai signaled that he might step down before the completion of the three-year overhaul, as long as it goes smoothly.

Two previous efforts since he became CEO in August 2012 failed to sustain an earnings recovery overseas, where Nomura has only posted an annual profit once during his time in charge.

“I will take responsibility until things get on track,” said Nagai, who is Nomura’s longest-serving CEO in more than 30 years.

It would be “natural” for him to leave in less than three years, he said.

Overseas operations would probably start generating annual profit if Nomura achieves 60 percent of its US$1 billion in wholesale business cost cuts in the year ending last month as planned, he said.

Nomura is on course to post its first annual net loss in a decade when it reports earnings on Thursday. It lost ¥101.3 billion (US$905.1 million) in the nine months ended December last year.

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