Mizuho to Add 15 to Japan Equities Division Amid Investor Demand

Mizuho Financial Group headquarters in Tokyo
A pedestrian walks past signage for Mizuho Financial Group Inc. outside the company's headquarters in Tokyo. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. has hired two analysts from rival firms as part of a plan to boost its Japanese equity research and sales operations and take advantage of growing investor interest in domestic shares.

Subsidiary Mizuho Securities Co. has recruited Yasuo Nakane from Deutsche Bank AG to become Mizuho’s global head of technology research, and Yoshitsugu Yamamoto from BNP Paribas SA as a senior analyst for the semiconductor industry, said Yohei Osade, Mizuho’s global head of Asian equities.

The two hires are part of a plan to boost Mizuho’s equities division by a total of 15 people, he said in an interview last week.

Japan’s biggest lenders are seeking to boost commissions and fees from their brokerage businesses as low interest rates depress income from loans. Stocks in Japan have been climbing following unprecedented monetary easing and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to bolster corporate governance.

“Investor appetite for Japanese companies’ stocks remains strong,” Osade, 47, said. “Foreign investors want to make sure that executives will continue to make efforts to improve corporate value for shareholders, and that Japan will pursue structural reforms.”

Mizuho plans to hire another five analysts before March to strengthen equity research in other areas, including steel and chemicals companies and small and medium-sized firms, Osade said. It appointed Yoshihiro Ujihara as a senior analyst to lead a newly established small-cap team, starting this week, he added.

Mizuho also wants to boost its distribution capability for Japanese equities by hiring seven or eight equity sales and sales traders in Asia, Europe and the U.S., Osade said. Those hires should take place before the end of the year, he added.

Transactions on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s First Section rose 39 percent last quarter from a year earlier to 357.4 trillion yen ($2.9 trillion), exchange data show.

U.S. Research

Mizuho is also expanding its research on U.S. stocks, boosting coverage from 107 companies at the start of this year, to 150 firms as of June, according to Osade. The brokerage has signed a contract to receive analysis from Strategas Research Partners LLC, a U.S. firm that specializes in macroeconomic policy.

“We are in the middle of expansion for U.S. research,” said Osade. “Our individual clients have deep interest in overseas stocks.”

Mizuho Securities will hold an investor conference in Tokyo from Sept. 7 to 11, inviting a record 2,200 investors, including more than 500 foreign investors, Osade said. Presidents and executives from 335 Japanese companies will attend, he added.

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