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Nomura adopts ‘last-in, first-out’ approach to Hong Kong job cuts

Nomura is cutting jobs across its Asia-Pacific operations as part of a global headcount reduction plan sparked by the slump in mergers and acquisitions and capital markets activity.

The Japanese bank is understood to have cut three bankers from its equity capital markets team in Hong Kong, including managing director Maryann Tsang and executive director Matthew Cheung.

Tsang only joined in last April from China Merchant Securities, while Cheung re-joined the bank in September 2021 as head of Greater China Capital markets.

The bank has not had a dedicated head of ECM for APAC since Marshall Nicholson left in 2020, but instead has ECM bankers who are involved in deals across the region such as Simon Galvin, who joined from Deutsche Bank as head of equity syndicate for APAC in 2021, and is based in Hong Kong.

In total, Nomura has cut more than 15 bankers across the APAC region, with the bulk of the redundancies affecting, associates and vice presidents. The cuts have affected staff in debt capital markets, financial sponsors and corporate finance. One source said that the bank has cut three executive directors, including one who joined last April and one associate from its China-focused business which is based in Hong Kong

Wallace Wong, a managing director in its mergers and acquisitions team and Bernard Lim, an executive director in its Singapore team, are also leaving, according to two sources. The bank is also closing its two-strong investment banking team based in Malaysia.

One source familiar with the plans said that the majority of the job cuts are focused on areas where the bank has limited scale. A spokesperson for Nomura said that the cuts are part of a global redundancy plan, and do not signal retrenchment from Apac.  The bank said:“2022 saw a material deterioration in global investment banking fee pools and, as a result, we have had to reduce headcount in certain areas. These changes are designed to ensure we retain focus in our key areas of competitive advantage, while maintaining core capabilities to position the platform for sustainable profitability.”

Nomura is more exposed to a slowdown in M&A and capital markets activity than bigger US firms like Citi and JP Morgan which operate a more diversified business model that includes corporate and transaction banking.

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AUTHORDavid Rothnie Insider Comment

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