Business / Corporate

Sumitomo Mitsui reportedly to hire four ex-UBS employees for equities

Bloomberg

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. will hire four former UBS AG employees to expand its Japan equity business, according to a source.

Trevor Hill, head of equities at UBS in Japan until he left the firm in December, will join the bank’s SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. unit next Tuesday to lead its equity operations, said the source, who asked not to be named as the information is private.

Yoshihiro Warita, a former head of equity capital markets at UBS in Japan, will do the equivalent job at SMBC Nikko starting next month, the source said.

Sumitomo Mitsui is beefing up securities operations to compete with brokerages including Nomura Holdings Inc. as loan profitability stagnates. While the Topix stock index has slumped 10 percent this year, it’s still up about 38 percent from the end of 2012.

Hill, a member of the management committee at the Swiss bank in Japan, will help SMBC Nikko add business especially from overseas institutional investors, the source said. Two other former UBS employees will also join the brokerage’s equity team Tuesday, the source added.

SMBC Nikko Chief Executive Officer Tetsuya Kubo plans to add 100 equity and bond sales staff, traders and bankers abroad by March 2016, he said in an interview last April. The firm opened an office in San Francisco in October to tap overseas investors’ demand for Japanese equities.

The Topix has declined this year as the economic recovery loses steam ahead of the sales tax increase next week. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has lowered its forecast for the Topix, citing “unanticipated weakness” in the market.

SMBC Nikko spokesman Tadataka Ishida declined to comment. Calls to Hill and Warita weren’t immediately answered. Eiko Noda, a spokeswoman for UBS, said Hill and Warita are no longer employees.

SMBC Nikko hired Koichi Ito, a former Nomura banker, earlier this year as a managing director to boost its cross-border merger and acquisition advisory business, the source said. Ito used to work at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. as head of Japan investment banking and joined Nomura after it bought the bankrupt U.S. firm’s Asian operations in 2008.

Nomura spokesman Kenji Yamashita declined to comment on Ito’s status.