Nomura has hired former hedge fund portfolio manager Rig Karkhanis to a new position as head of fixed-income Singapore.
Karkhanis had only been with his previous employer, Millenium Partners Hedge Fund, since July 2009 before being targeted by Nomura to enhance its fixed-income business in Singapore. His focus will be on foreign exchange, interest rates, credit and commodities and he will be servicing Asia ex-Japan clients.
Before his short stint with Millennium Partners, Karkhanis worked with Merrill Lynch as head of rates and currencies sales and trading for the Asia-Pacific Rim. Prior to that, he spent 10 years with Deutsche Bank in Europe and Asia, across various foreign exchange options trading roles.
The appointment is in line with Nomura’s dual-hub strategy to spread management across both Hong Kong and Singapore. “It’s beefing up the management and adding another layer to the structure,” explained one source.
Nomura’s head of macro sales for Asia ex-Japan, Samir Bhandari, and global head of central bank and sovereign wealth fund sales, Henrik Melph, are already based in Singapore and will continue to keep their existing reporting lines. Bhandari reports to Jai Rajpal, head of fixed-income for Asia ex-Japan, and Melph reports to George Sun, head of credit sales for Asia ex-Japan, as well as to Chris Fleming, global head of rates sales.
Other key positions based out of Singapore include the regional heads of foreign exchange, and of rates and commodities. Both roles will report to Karkhanis.
“Foreign exchange and local markets rates...represent over two-thirds of the fixed-income industry fee pool in Asia ex-Japan,” said one source, “Rig has significant experience in these markets and will add to Nomura’s strength to build these businesses in the region.”
Karkhanis, who started in his new role yesterday, will report directly to Jai Rajpal, who became the sole head of fixed-income for Asia ex-Japan when Thomas Siegmund resigned in March.
“Asian FX and rates market present a significant opportunity for our clients, and Rig’s experience both on the buy- and sell-side will allow us to strengthen our existing operations," commented Rajpal.
Nomura has been working hard to move its brand away from its Japan-based roots towards being recognised as a global investment bank. And this is reflected in the movement of key leadership positions at both the regional and global level to Singapore and Hong Kong.
However, these moves have yet to be reflected on the debt capital markets side of the business. Within Asia ex-Japan Nomura currently ranks 20th in Dealogic's 2010 league table for G3 debt, having been on four deals so far this year. Globally, it has performed stronger with a 13th place ranking, having managed $73.1 billion across 382 deals. The bank is currently second for local debt capital markets issuance in Japan, with a 17.7% market share.
In the Singapore local currency market, Nomura finished 12th in the league table rankings last year after helping to arrange PSA International’s S$500 million ($165 million) corporate bond in September. Nomura was a joint lead manager together with J.P. Morgan and DBS. Year to date, the bank has not managed any deals in the local Singapore markets.