Nomura CEO Sees Room to Boost Headcount in Unprofitable Americas

Koji Nagai, chief executive officer of Nomura Holdings.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Nomura Holdings Inc. has room to boost hiring in the Americas, a market where it hasn’t posted a profit since last fiscal year’s first quarter, according to Chief Executive Officer Koji Nagai.

“There is still potential for growth in the Americas,” Nagai, 56, said at an investment forum in Tokyo on Tuesday. Japan’s biggest brokerage is seeking to double investment-banking revenue in the region over the next two to three years, he said, without giving figures.

Nomura said in November that it hired six investment bankers in the Americas, including Mark Connelly as head of equity capital markets, in an effort to get more business from the region with the world’s largest fee pool. The Japanese firm will focus on generating investment-banking fees from companies with a market value of less than $10 billion, it said in a presentation on Tuesday.

The firm’s total wholesale banking revenue, which encompasses investment banking and global markets businesses, is projected to climb to $7.9 billion in the year ending March 2020 from $7.1 billion last fiscal year, according to the presentation. Nomura will reduce costs in the segment to $6.1 billion from $6.4 billion over the same period, it said.

Nagai’s efforts to expand in the U.S. have yet to pay off, with Nomura posting pretax losses from the Americas in each of the past five quarters. The Tokyo-based company, which is seeking to earn 50 billion yen ($407 million) from operations abroad in the year ending March, lost 43 billion yen overseas before taxes in the first six months after settling a legal dispute with an Italian bank.

Nomura had 2,514 employees in the Americas as of Sept. 30, up almost 4 percent from a year earlier. It reduced headcount in Europe by 1 percent to 3,494 over the same period, earnings materials showed in October.

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