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- Nomura this week told about 66 traders that they’re now joining a new electronic trading team.
- The move is part of a plan to better compete in AI-led trading. Nomura’s shift from lower-performing units led to brutal job cuts last month.
- It’s an uphill battle for talent. Nomura is competing with banks, fintech firms, and tech startups.
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Nomura shocked traders this week after telling about 66 of them that they’re now part of a push into the electronic trading "arms race."
In a bid to better compete in quant and AI-led trading, a staple on Wall Street, Nomura picked key traders from its fixed income, currencies, and rates teams for a new "E-trading Strategy" team. The Tokyo-based bank is developing an artificial intelligence-led market-making platform in a bid to boost revenues in that area by 15%.
Nomura is now on the hunt for tech whizzes who can aid that effort.
"We are on the lookout" for electronic traders, data scientists, quants, and developers around the world, Jezri Mohideen, an alum of hedge fund Brevan Howard who is leading the Nomura’s push as chief digital officer, told Business Insider. "There’s no question there is an arms race in this field. This is a key step towards that."
Brutal job cuts
The move comes after a brutal round of job cuts at Nomura. Last month, the bank cut more than 100 positions globally, with a bulk of that hitting senior MDs in London, as part of a strategy shift to more promising and better-performing units.
Those units, the bank says, will increasingly focus on technology. Tokyo-based Nomura is teaming up with Mohideen’s former employer Brevan Howard for the market making platform.
Uphill battle for talent
But it’s an uphill battle persuading the top minds to choose Wall Street over edgy Silicon Valley startups — Nomura is going head-to-head against speed trading firms, big banks, fintech startups, and tech companies. To lure those motivated by more than money, some firms are promising the chance to work on products that are more startup-like.
"Attracting that talent is a challenge," Mohideen said, in an interview from his base in Dubai. "We’ve found if you give the right proposition you can get the right people."
The new hires will get "the exposure to understand domain knowledge in finance, to work with experienced senior traders. I think they will find that exciting," Mohideen added.
"You will prob see more and more revenue shifting out of the business onto electronic platforms," he said. "That’s the pie we’re chasing out of that spectrum." Mohideen, who has had a colorful career, declined to provide specific targets.
The bank’s leaders have been "very supportive over the last eight to nine months," he said. "They’re happy to see the pros and cons around it. Where they are very skeptical is if you can’t show a tangible difference — then they get very nervous. But things are changing quite a bit. They are seeing how the retail adoption has grown so fast."
According to an internal memo seen by Business Insider, the e-trading strategy will co-headed by Matthew Hampson, deputy chief digital officer, and Michael Anthony, head of US rates algorithmic trading. Both will report to Mohideen.
The memo list the following top managers in the new unit:
- Declan Ruane – Client Servicing & Execution
- Breman Thuraisingham – Pricing & Alpha Strategy
- James Turnock – Data Platform and Desk Aligned
- Tom Palmer – E-Trading Strategy FX (reporting locally in Asia Ex-Japan to Stuart Oakley)
- Frederic Gabern – US E-Trading Strategists
- Matthew Hampson & David Swedensky – EMEA E-Trading Strategists
- Chris Old – E-Trading Strategy CAO (reporting globally to Olivier Dang)
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