Nomura’s Dalban in Exit Talks After Cuts to Trading Unit

Christian Dalban, who oversees a group of Nomura Holdings Inc. traders who use firm capital to make bets on markets, is poised to leave as the bank weighs closing the unit, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

Dalban, 48, is negotiating his departure after the bank cut traders within his Angel Lane Principal Strategies division and decided to review whether to continue the business, said the people, who asked not to be identified because terms of his exit haven’t been completed. Tokyo-based Nomura, Japan’s largest brokerage, cut more than 20 jobs in the trading unit in London, New York and Hong Kong last month, the people said.

Dalban joined Nomura in 2010 from Israel Englander’s $16.9 billion U.S. hedge fund, Millennium Management LLC. He was in charge of hiring teams of investment managers from hedge funds and banks that could profit from market wagers, at a time when Nomura’s competitors were scaling back proprietary-trading desks because of new regulations and diminished risk appetites.

Dalban, who is based in London, and Redzi Mangwana, a Nomura spokeswoman, declined to comment on the discussions.

Nomura started reducing the number of London traders focused on stocks at the Angel Lane unit last year as part of a plan to cut costs by $1 billion by scaling back its equities and investment banking businesses. The revamp in strategy followed a four-year struggle by Nomura to build a business overseas after it bought Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s European and Asian units in 2008.

JPMorgan Chase

Dalban ran the European business for Millennium, according to a press release issued by Nomura at the time of his hiring in June 2010. He previously founded his own hedge fund, London-based Castlegrove Capital Partners, and spent almost two decades at JPMorgan Chase & Co., where his positions included co-head of global equity derivatives, according to the Nomura statement.

The name of the trading unit is derived from a 500,000-square-foot building on Angle Lane along the River Thames in London’s financial district that the bank moved into in April 2011. Dalban tried last year to spin the business out of Nomura or move it within the bank’s asset-management unit where money is invested for outside clients, the people said.

Nomura’s rivals began closing proprietary-trading desks in 2010 when U.S. President Barack Obama signed legislation that included a provision called the Volcker rule, named for its advocate, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The measure restricts banks with customer deposits backed by the U.S. government from speculating on markets.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., based in New York, decided to shut its proprietary-trading units within weeks of the rule’s approval. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley followed in deciding to move traders under asset-management units or spinning out their businesses.

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