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Why Japan is the safest place if you’re a Nomura investment banker worried about your job

Ok if you're based here

Ok if you're based here

As Nomura continues to trim people from its investment bank in ex-Japan Asia, employees in Tokyo are feeling altogether more secure.

Mark Leahy, Asia ex-Japan head of debt origination and syndication, is among the latest in a spate of redundancies stretching back several weeks as the firm tries to trim US$1bn of costs from investment banking.

Although Nomura has not confirmed the exact numbers in Asia, recruiters expect more retrenchments to follow, especially in Hong Kong. Senior bankers who received large compensation deals a few years ago are now an obvious target for a cost-cutting firm.

There is better news, however, for the Japan-based contingent of the firm’s 22,325-strong workforce. “Given that Nomura is typically ranked as one of the most active investment banks in Japan, especially in M&A rankings, I do not expect to see cuts in Japan,” says Martin Eastgate, senior consultant, real estate and financial services, Talent2. “With its strong nationwide network, Nomura’s brokerage arms will continue to feed business into the investment banking division especially.”

That said, there is little prospect of Nomura expanding its Japanese headcount in the near future. Lionel Kaidatzis, managing director, Morgan McKinley, says: “With the ongoing financial crisis, like many banks, it is likely that Nomura is not looking to grow its businesses. But also like many other financial organisations, it will continue to make critical hires for the remainder of the year.”

Some Japanese banks use “keiyaku shain” contracts, essentially one-year rolling arrangements, and some of these will not be renewed, says Kaidatzis. “But we have not heard of any large-scale redundancy plans within any of the other Japanese financial institutions.”

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