Nomura to the rescue?

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UBS's falling apart at the seams, Lehman's raising more cash, but one bank appears confident in the London market, and aspires to hire - Nomura.

According to the Financial Times, Kenichi Watanabe, Nomura's new chief exec, has plans to turn London - rather than New York - into the hub for the bank's international operations.

Watanabe told the FT that London will be Nomura's international factory from which it will 'originate' (a spokesman for the bank translates this as invent or structure) products for export to international markets.

He also said London will be the centre for Nomura's global risk management operation.

Unfortunately, this doesn't foretell a rush of hiring, although insiders say Nomura will be staffing up selectively in the months to come. "We're not anticipating a big hiring push, but will respond to opportunities as they arise. Clearly there are some excellent people currently available," says Stephen Sidebottom, the bank's head of HR.

"We're not budgeting huge increases, but we plan to hire opportunistically," agrees a spokesman for the bank, who adds that areas of strategic focus in the months to come will include structuring, distribution, Asian equities (out of London), and synthetic prime brokerage.

Risk recruiters say they haven't seen a rush of business out of the bank yet. However, Lee Carron, of recruitment firm GRS, says Nomura has rebuilt its operational risk function with three or four senior hires in recent months.

Nomura currently employs 1,460 people in London, up from 1,250 at the start of last year. UBS, meanwhile, is expected to make further redundancies following today's announcement of additional redundancies and the resignation of its chairman.