Mizuho is not the best known investment bank on Wall Street, but the Japanese firm is making some loud noises about its expansion plans in the U.S.
When Henry Mroczko joined Mizuho a year ago, it had just completed the purchase of a $36.5bn loan book from RBS Americas, which substantially grew the North American business. Mizuho also set up a bank holding company structure, and a hiring push in the U.S. followed.
As the head of talent acquisition for the Americas at Mizuho Bank, Mroczko and his team are tasked with hiring everyone from front office staff IT and operations personnel. Previously, he worked at Merrill Lynch, UBS, BNP Paribas and AIG.
“In building out our investment banking advisory platform in the U.S., we’ve added a lot of headcount in 2016, and we will add more there as well before the end of the 2016 fiscal year, focused primarily on two sectors, technology in San Francisco and healthcare in New York,” Mroczko said. “There may be other areas to look at, but first we want to get those groups up and running and putting support infrastructure in place so that deals can be won and get done."
One example of a senior hire is Matthew Upton, who was a managing director in Nomura’s global TMT investment banking group in New York and has just relocated to San Francisco to join Mizuho.
“It is a reflection of the overall strategy to build out the advisory platform in the U.S., starting with those two groups, where the concept is proven, then expand to additional areas,” he said. “Looking at the bank holding company areas such as risk, reporting and compliance, we will make sure we have all the capabilities the regulators demand of us."
The bank has also hired around a dozen people in fixed income trading in the past few months.
In March, Mizuho promoted Andrew Dewing, who spent two decades in Bank of America's corporate and investment bank, to managing executive officer and head of North American banking.
In April, the bank brought over Rich Gallivan from Barclays to serve as managing director and head of technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) for the North American investment banking business. Gallivan immediately began hiring investment bankers for the San Francisco office with experience in equities capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, event-driven financing and financial sponsor activity for clients in the technology sector.
Gallivan made his biggest hire to date in June, tapping Christopher Nam, a Credit Suisse banker who also previously worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Wasserstein Perella, for the role of managing director and head of Internet and digital media investment banking for North America. Nam’s mandate is to build out the firm’s ECM, M&A and strategic capital-raising advisory capabilities for Silicon Valley clients.
Last month, Mizuho poached Jason Fertig from Nomura to serve as New York-based managing director and head of healthcare investment banking. With Barclays and Lehman Brothers also on his resume, Fertig is expected to boost business across the specialty pharmaceuticals, biotech, life sciences and emerging medical technology sectors.
Mroczko said the bank will continue to hire directors, vice presidents and associates in New York who will report to Fertig, and expects to have that build-out done by March.
While the top priority has been to bring in talent to front-office businesses in New York and San Francisco, Mizuho also has decent-sized offices in Chicago, with healthcare and energy teams, and Houston, which is focused on energy, oil and gas.
“Heading into the final quarter of our fiscal year, which ends on March 31st, 2017, we will be focused on refining some of the groups,” Mroczko said. “We’ve brought on quite a few people this year, and there’s no real growth in headcount strategy being talked about for next year yet – at this point, it will likely be more about optimizing what we have.”
While Mizuho is not targeting MBAs, Mroczko said Mizuho has done a lot to boost campus recruiting.
“The campus recruiting piece has really grown that this year [in the U.S.],” Mroczko said. “We’re making efforts to do outreach to schools, make that a lot more effective, bring people to events and use that success at making Mizuho seem a lot more appealing to springboard into junior-level hiring primarily at the analyst level.”
Mizuho has a tiered, targeted university partner list, prioritizing schools that have provided the bank with access to campus and from which it has hired good candidates. As examples of target universities, Mroczko cited the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, Columbia University and New York University.
“We’re starting to look at more schools on the west coast as well,” Mroczko said.
Mizuho brings in between 25 and 30 summer analyst interns annually, which is geared toward making sure they have the right focus and converting many of them into full-time analysts upon graduation. The bank hires 25-to-30 graduates as full-time analysts each year.
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