Nomura Hires Berber as Currency Strategist, Third Hire From RBS in a Month

Nomura Holdings Inc. appointed Benito Berber as an emerging markets foreign-exchange strategist, its third hire from Royal Bank of Scotland Plc in two weeks.

Berber will start in the coming months, a Nomura spokeswoman said in a telephone interview today. She declined to give further details. He follows colleagues Steve Ashley and Chris Fleming, who joined Nomura last month as global head of rates and global head of rates sales.

Nomura is adding to its fixed-income team following its acquisition of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s European and Asian units in 2008. The Tokyo-based brokerage has also allocated 250 billion yen ($2.74 billion) to expand its U.S. operations. Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. all reported record revenue from trading debt in the first quarter.

“As equity markets have been weak, one way to replenish this is to strengthen the fixed-income banker headcount,” said Jason Kennedy, chief executive officer of Kennedy Associates, a London-based executive search firm.

The biggest difference in yields between two and 10-year U.S. Treasuries since at least 1990 helped fixed-income traders generate record revenue as they borrowed short-dated securities and bought longer-dated bonds. The spread widened to a record 291 basis points on Feb. 22, and was at 248 basis points today. The median since 1991 was 105 basis points.

RBS Bailout

RBS, now 83 percent owned by the British government, lost more than 1,000 employees from its investment bank last year, in part because of pay limits imposed after the lender received the biggest government bailout of any bank in the world, CEO Stephen Hester said May 7. The bank is counting on a rebound in revenue from its global banking and markets unit to repay its bailout.

Berber joined RBS in 2007 and worked as an economist for the bank in the U.S. Nomura announced Ashley and Fleming’s appointment May 26. The bank also hired Peter Hurd from New Amsterdam Capital LLP in May for its London-based loan and high- yield capital markets team.

Nomura appointed Jim McCormick as head of fixed-income research for Europe, the Middle East and Africa from Citigroup Global Markets in September. In January, it added Nick Firoozye from Citadel Investment Group as head of European interest-rate strategy. George Goncalves joined Nomura the following month from Cantor Fitzgerald as head of U.S. interest-rate strategy.

Separately, Lloyds Banking Group Plc hired Nomura’s Charles Diebel as head of markets strategy, according to two people with knowledge of the appointment. Diebel, formerly head of sovereign strategy at Nomura in London, will start work at Lloyds in three months’ time, reporting to Trevor Williams, chief economist of Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets, the people said.

A Nomura spokeswoman confirmed that Diebel has left the company, while declining to comment further. A Lloyds spokesman declined to comment. A spokesman for RBS wasn’t immediately available.

To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Brown in London at mbrown42@bloomberg.net; Ambereen Choudhury in London at achoudhury@bloomberg.net

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