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Nomura cuts senior equity research staff just before bonuses

First it was M&A, now it seems Nomura is taking an axe to headcount in its equities business too. Equity research is being hacked most heavily, with senior equity researchers particularly prone to being chopped.

Three separate headhunters, each of whom declined to be named, said there were big cuts across the board in Nomura’s London equity research operation yesterday. Around 20 people are said to have gone. Utilities, retail, healthcare and pharmaceutical teams were among the casualties. 

Graeme Pearson, head of equity research at the Japanese bank is said to have departed, along with Rufus Grantham, deputy head of research in EMEA. Martin Young, a senior utilities analyst and Nick Coulter on food retail are also said to have gone. None of the exits were officially confirmed by Nomura.  Calls to three of the men went to voice mail and a colleague of Young’s confirmed he was no longer around.

Nomura declined to comment on the cuts. Notably, Nomura pays its bonuses in April so the senior equity researchers have all been let go before their bonus are paid.

Many of the equities bankers at Nomura joined from Lehman’s London’s operations in late 2008. As we noted earlier this week, all the senior Lehman bankers who joined Nomura from Lehman have now disappeared from the Japanese bank, leaving remaining mid-ranking and junior ex-Lehmanites at Nomura without senior protectors. In February, Jonathan Bowen, a senior equity salesman left Nomura, seemingly voluntarily. Bowen had joined from Fortress Investment in January 2009.

The cuts to equities at Nomura come after the bank announced plans to integrate its equities business with Instinet, the agency broking firm that pioneered electronic trading, in May 2012. Last year, Nomura said it would focus its corporate finance business on a few key sectors, namely financial services, natural resources, industrial companies and private equity.

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