Mizuho Seeks to Boost Japan Equity Research to Chase Nomura

Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan’s third-biggest bank by market value, added to its team of Japan stock analysts in a bid to surpass top-ranked researcher Nomura Holdings Inc.

The Japanese bank hired Fumihide Goto from UBS AG to cover electronic parts makers and Kei Takahashi from Bank of America Corp. to study the telecommunications industry, said Yohei Osade, pan-Asia head of equities at Tokyo-based Mizuho Securities Co. The two are starting work today, Osade said.

That brings the number of equities staff Mizuho has hired since August to at least 12 as the company looks to sustain a revival of its investment banking and brokerage operations. The recruiting may offer a reprieve to employees at securities firms after banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG pared payrolls in Tokyo in the year ended March.

“I want to make Mizuho a research house surpassing Nomura,” Osade, 44, who joined the firm in September from Bank of America, said in an interview. “We want to seize business from overseas firms that are scaling back Japan equity operations and act as an intermediary between investors and Japanese companies or issuers.”

Ranked No. 9

Mizuho ranks ninth among equity research firms in Japan this year, and Nomura is first, according to a survey compiled by Institutional Investor. Led by Osade, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America jumped to first place in 2011 from No. 11 a year earlier.

Goto is the top-ranked analyst of the electronic parts industry in Japan this year, according to Institutional Investor.

Mizuho is already gaining ground in investment banking. The firm overtook Nomura as this year’s top adviser on Japanese takeovers after winning a role working on Softbank Corp.’s record $20 billion bid last month for Sprint Nextel Corp.

Mizuho Securities posted a profit for the second quarter, led by bond trading, a filing showed yesterday. Net income was 2.9 billion yen ($36 million) for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of 18.2 billion yen a year earlier.

The brokerage is encouraging cooperation between research and sales staff for marketing and branding, and analysts will work closely across regions, Osade said. He visited London, Hong Kong, Singapore and New York for 11 days last month. Osade will travel to Hong Kong and London again this month.

Mizuho in September hired Masatoshi Kikuchi as its pan-Asia equity strategist and Hayato Nagayoshi as chief quants analyst, Osade said. They were colleagues at Bank of America.

The Japanese bank plans to attract more overseas investors by expanding research and sales staff who can work with English-speaking clients, Yasuo Agemura, who is on the board of Mizuho Securities, said in an interview last month. The brokerage aims to increase its ratio of commissions from overseas clients to half from 30 percent, he said.

Mizuho hired Agemura from Nomura last year.

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