Nomura Ex-Head of Program Trading Wells Said to Join Hedge Fund

Nicholas Wells, Nomura Holdings Inc.’s former head of equities program trading, has left the bank and plans to join hedge-fund firm Millennium Management LLC, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Wells will be joined at Millennium by two junior Nomura colleagues, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the departures aren’t public. Wells joined Nomura in London from Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. after the Japanese lender acquired the collapsed firm’s European business.

His departure follows a decision last year by Nomura to fold all execution services, including cash, program and electronic trading outside of Japan, into the firm’s Instinet unit, a standalone brokerage acquired in 2006. The Tokyo-based bank announced the move in September, while disclosing at the same time that it planned to eliminate $1 billion of costs by scaling back the firm’s global ambitions.

Wells didn’t return a phone call seeking comment on his departure. Redzi Mangwana, a London-based spokeswoman for Nomura, declined to comment. Tripp Kyle, a spokesman for New York-based Millennium, declined to comment.

Wells’ registration with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority as a Nomura employee has been inactive since June 13, according to the regulator’s website. He had worked at Lehman since 2001, according to the website.

Program trading typically involves buying and selling baskets of securities through a computer algorithm based on preconditioned triggers. The strategy can be used to take advantage of situations when related securities and indexes trade outside their normal range.

Millennium has been adding employees after almost tripling its assets under management to $18.2 billion since June 2010. The firm, founded in 1989 by former American Stock Exchange floor broker Israel Englander, allocates its capital to more than 140 trading teams focused on investing in stocks and bonds, according to its website.

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