Nomura chief vows to keep up overseas growth

Kyodo

The CEO of Nomura Holdings Inc. has pledged to continue expanding the company’s business overseas despite the gloomy outlook for the world economy.

“Our customers have continued to boost their overseas business. A worldwide network is necessary for us to provide them with services and information that Nomura has gathered on its own,” Kenichi Watanabe said in a recent interview.

Asked how the securities firm plans to cope with the current slump in the global economy, he said, “We will also switch to a cost structure that would correspond with the outlook for our earnings, now that our competitors are moving to cut personnel and other expenses.

“Last year, we drew up a plan to cut expenses by $1.2 billion and we have already accomplished roughly two-thirds of the planned cuts by the yearend,” he said.

Watanabe dismissed speculation that Nomura Holdings could be sold to a domestic megabank.

He also dismissed concerns that a possible cut in Nomura Holdings’ credit rating will affect the group’s financial health, saying: “At present, we have assets worth $70 billion in forms that can be speedily cashed. The amount is twice to triple the usual size of such assets.”

Asked about reconstruction assistance funds Nomura established in the aftermath of the March 2011 disasters, Watanabe said he expects the funds to play a role in helping revive Tohoku’s agricultural sector.

“Agriculture plays a key role in regional economies, so we will continue to enhance our function as mediators to help (farmers) push coordination with local governments, universities and financial institutions,” he said.