Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group’s CEO has said he is considering an expansion of the bank’s alliance with Jefferies Financial Group into Asia as he plays catch-up with Japanese rivals who moved more rapidly to build out their investment banking overseas.

The partners won more than 30 deals in bond and equity underwriting since they announced an expanded tie-up in April last year, according to Toru Nakashima, who took the reins following the death of Jun Ohta in November. The April move saw Japan’s second-largest lender agree to triple its stake in the U.S. investment bank.

"It’s a faster pace than we had expected — it is going very well,” the Sumitomo Mitsui veteran said in an interview in Tokyo.