Morning Coffee: Nomura cuts make it even trickier to get an equities job in Hong Kong

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It has not been a great start to the year if you work in an equities-related function in Hong Kong. Of the 200 people laid off globally when Stan Chart shut its equities division earlier this month, the largest proportion were based in Hong Kong – headhunters we spoke to at the time put the local number at about 100. Now Nomura has cut about 12 Asia equities jobs, mostly based in Hong Kong, to focus on more profitable operations such as global M&A, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who was quoted in Bloomberg yesterday.

Like the more dramatic Stan Chart layoffs, many of the Nomura cuts affected experienced staff who may now find it difficult to get similarly senior jobs at other banks in Hong Kong. And the Japanese bank's redundancies make the equities job market even more competitive for all candidates. “The truth is that most of them won’t be in high demand in Hong Kong – equities teams are still shrinking here,” Matthew Hoyle, chairman of search firm Matthew Hoyle Financial Markets in Hong Kong, told us in relation to Stan Chart.

Among the departures confirmed by Bloomberg are Yasuhiro Fujiwara, a Hong Kong-based Asia ex-Japan head of equities, and Vincent Yam, a managing director of equity derivatives in the region. Fujiwara joined Nomura only last year in a high-profile move from Bank of America – and his exit demonstrates how quickly Nomura’s plans to bolster its equities business in Asia have run into trouble.

Nomura is, however, set to hire more M&A bankers in emerging Asian markets as it increases its coverage in China, Australia, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. The firm wants to work on more cross-border takeovers involving Japanese companies, according to its global investment banking head Kentaro Okuda, who was also quoted in the Bloomberg report.


Hong Kong reveals new reforms to tackle major financial rescues. (South China Morning Post)

Half of employers in Singapore provide more than the minimum statutory annual leave, says survey, but that's a mere seven days for new recruits.(Channel News Asia).

Singapore Exchange announces 16% year-on-year increase in profit for final quarter of 2014. (Straits Times)

Why memorising answers for job interviews may backfire. (Asia One)

Indian banking stocks tipped to be strong performers. (Economic Times)

Hiring a maid is set to get more expensive in Singapore. (Straits Times)

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