Nomura boosts equity sales and trading with new hires

The Japanese bank poaches another two people from Bank of America Merrill Lynch for its equity and equity derivatives teams in Asia ex-Japan.

Nomura has made two more hires from Bank of America Merrill Lynch for its regional equities and equity derivatives teams outside Japan, according to an internal announcement issued on Friday.

Stanley Wong has joined as head of North Asia equity distribution, which means he is in charge of equity sales in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Korea. He started work last Monday and is based in Hong Kong.

The announcement also confirmed that Ajay Gupta will come on board as head of client trading for Asia ex-Japan at the end of this month once his three-month gardening leave is up. Derivatives Intelligence reported in May that Gupta had left Bank of America Merrill Lynch and was heading to Nomura. His exact role was not known at the time. The client trading group is part of Nomura’s equity derivatives business.

At Nomura, Wong and Gupta will be reunited with Yasuhiro Fujiwara, who also has a background with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Fujiwara joined Nomura in March this year as head of equities for Asia ex-Japan and head of equity derivatives trading for Asia-Pacific after spending close to a year-and-a-half away from the industry.

Before he left BoA Merrill in October 2011 Fujiwara was co-head of global markets and head of equities for Asia-Pacific, and since he joined Nomura he has been busy hiring a number of key people from his former employer.

Wong and Gupta will both report to Fujiwara, and Gupta will also have a second reporting line to Daisuke Mototani, Nomura’s global head of equity sales.

Wong has 17 years of industry experience and was most recently head of Greater China equity distribution at BoA Merrill. He joined the US bank in July 2009.

Gupta was head of equity-linked trading for the Pacific Rim before he left the US bank, which meant he was responsible for trading of equity derivatives and convertible bond products. According to Derivatives Intelligence, he joined BoA Merrill (or rather its predecessor Merrill Lynch) in 1998 and transferred to Hong Kong in 2007. Before that he was head of Japanese equity derivatives trading in Tokyo.

His career path mirrors that of Fujiwara, who also joined Merrill Lynch in Tokyo in the late 1990s and transferred to Hong Kong in December 2007.

In total, Gupta has more than 20 years’ experience in Asia, Europe and the US and has previously also worked at UBS, according to the Nomura announcement.

Gupta is “very experienced in dealing with corporate derivatives and capital market pricing situations, and will be a great addition as we grow our risk platform in Asia,” Fujiwara said in the memo.

He went on to note that the equities and equity derivatives businesses are a core part of Nomura’s Asia-Pacific global markets platform and said the firm’s strategy is to strengthen its equities content and distribution, while fully aligning its execution capabilities with its top clients.

“On the trading side, we intend to integrate risk across the equities platform so that we can better serve our key clients’ interests,” Fujiwara said.

Nomura doesn’t break out the equities business in Asia ex-Japan in its earnings, but in a presentation material published on its website in connection with the fiscal 2014 first quarter results, it noted that the net revenue in Asia ex-Japan equities fell by more than 15% in the three months to June from the previous quarter, while the net revenue in the fixed-income business was up by at least 15%.

It also said that net revenues in its Asia ex-Japan wholesale division, which includes equities, fixed-income and investment banking, fell 8% to ¥20.1 billion in the three months to June. It added that the performance in the foreign exchange business was robust, while there was a slowdown in equity derivatives.

Within equity derivatives, Nomura earlier this year also hired Laurent Poirot as head of flow index and delta one for Asia ex-Japan, and Vincent Yam as head of Greater China trading with responsibility for flow SS options, warrants and Hong Kong and China cash trading.

Both came from BoA Merrill and are part of the Asia ex-Japan client trading team. They will report to Gupta once he starts work later this month.

In May Nomura also brought on board Jae Lee as head of equity structuring for Asia ex-Japan. He too joined from BoA Merrill where he had a similar role. He is based in Hong Kong and reports to John Goff, the head of global markets structuring for Asia ex-Japan.

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