There's an old mantra that you never really retire from investment banking, you just work equally as hard on something else outside of finance. Chris Fleming, the former head of global markets EMEA sales at Nomura, retired from the Japanese bank in August last year to launch a new mentoring website. Now, though, he's back at his old employer in a major new role.
Fleming is now vice-chairman of wholesale banking for Europe at Nomura, a job that he took up officially earlier this month. He will report directly into Yasuo Kashiwagi, Nomura's senior managing director and executive chairman for EMEA, who briefly held the role of interim European CEO until the appointment of Jonathan Lewis in January 2015.
"I have some good, deep relationships with some of Nomura's biggest clients, so I'll be helping the bank make the most of these," Fleming tells us. "I'll be looking for synergies, where compliant, among the wholesale and private sides of the business and also seeking to bridge the gap between East and West. There are a number of clients in the UK who want to connect with Japan, so I'll be able to help with this."
Fleming spent six years at Nomura, having joined from Royal Bank of Scotland in 2010 where he was European head of interest rates sales. He joined Nomura as global head of rates sales, before moving to a similar role across the macro business and finally heading up the entire sales function for the Japanese bank's EMEA operation.
However, in August last year he was given a send off by Nomura and retired from the City to start a website called Mentor Xchange, which aims to connect young professionals with senior managers who can help provide career guidance. The aim was initially to focus on financial services, where Fleming has connections, before expanding out to other industries. Fleming says he's still trying to get the business off the ground, so the role at Nomura is currently only three days per week.
"I've worked on the trading floor for over 30 years and that means I've witnessed a rising interest rate environment. There are senior people within the markets functions who haven't seen this, so it helps to have some wise old heads around," he says.
Fleming is expected to work closely with Steve Ashley, Nomura's head of global markets to help grow revenues within its UK sales and trading operation. Ashley and Fleming worked together at RBS and both men joined Nomura from the Scottish bank in 2010, and Fleming says they've known one another for over 21 years.
"Vice-chairman sounds like a big role, and I want to to be one where I can really add value," says Fleming. "Nomura wanted me back to help grow their UK business through the deep relationships I have with clients. I don't want it to be a sedentary role - I want to make a real difference."
After the swift and brutal closure of its European cash equities desk last year, which eliminated 500 jobs in London, Nomura's UK operation has been revived, and it says that it's back in expansion mode in both Europe and the U.S.
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