Nomura May Buy Asian Investment Firm or Broker

Expansion in region would capitalize on growth, affluent clients

A stock board in Japan. (Photo: AP) A stock board in Japan. (Photo: AP)

Securities firm Nomura Holdings may be pulling back on the global stage, but it’s looking for ways to boost its presence in Asia to take advantage of the region’s growth and its rising coterie of affluent individuals. CEO Koji Nagai said Friday that the firm could buy an Asian investment bank or broker to do so.

Bloomberg reported Friday that while Nagai didn’t provide any details about how much the firm could spend or which companies it was considering, he did say that Nomura was reviewing “a couple” of potential acquisition targets in the region. He said in the report, “Our Japanese clients expect us to make the most of our strength in Asia. Asia is growing, and so are our clients’ needs there.”

Just Thursday, Nomura announced a planned $1 billion in cuts, with the brunt of them coming from Europe and the Middle East; others were to take place in the Americas and Asia as well. However, the company is focused on making Asia Nomura’s “mother market,” despite the challenges it has faced over nine successive quarters of losses abroad.

Nagai said that the firm may purchase assets or engage in joint ventures with local firms to gain access to facilities and operations it does not possess. He was quoted saying, “We want to operate fully licensed brokerage operations in Asia, including retail. It’s not realistic to do this from scratch.”

Nomura will face challenges in boosting its presence even on its home turf, particularly since competition is already firmly ensconced in China, India and Southeast Asia. In additions, its rivals are making their own acquisitions to expand their presence in the region.

Still, although “[t]here’s still a question mark over whether Nomura is capable of expanding its share in Asia,” according to Natsumu Tsujino, a Tokyo-based analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Tsujino said in the report that “[i]t may be able to seize opportunities when European rivals pull back from the region.”

Nomura’s critics are definitely skeptical, though. Azuma Ohno, a Tokyo-based analyst at Barclays, was quoted saying, “Four years have passed since Nomura bought Lehman and it has failed to boost its share of the Asian market. Nomura needs to show clearly how it can increase its share in the region.”

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