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Mizuho hiring goes electronic

Japan trails behind Europe and the US when it comes to electronic trading, but Japanese banks may finally be about to get in on the act. And that could mean job creation.

Mizuho has hired 16 former Lehman Brothers employees, including Lehman’s former head of electronic trading sales in Asia, to form a new electronic trading unit. The unit will target hedge funds and institutional investors with electronic products and systems for equities trading.

Mizuho’s move was a wise one, according to Warwick Pearmund, a senior consultant at recruitment firm Boyd & Moore. He says that up until now it has largely been the US and European banks who have been offering electronic products in Japan.

“If Japanese firms are serious about internationalizing, they will have to be able to offer the same range of services and products as their US and European rivals,” Pearmund adds. “Currently Japan is very much behind with DMA, algorithmic and dark pool trading.”

One source at a Japanese brokerage house says Japan is “light years behind” with its utilization of electronic trading.

What kind of roles would be created if other Japanese firms follow in Mizuho’s footsteps and attempt to drag themselves into the 21st century? Pearmund says firms that want to set up electronic trading units will need to recruit not just traders, but also hands-on IT staff to deal with day-to-day tech issues, as well as developers to build the algorithms. That might mean good news at last for Tokyo’s IT finance recruiters.

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