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Morning Coffee: Bank that closed business wants to do it again, more cheaply. No one works at 4pm now

Nomura has a reputation. The bank is forever trying to refute this, but sometimes actions speak larger than words and Nomura's actions tend to have a reinforcing effect. The Japanese bank is known for getting in and out of businesses. Every bank does it, but Nomura possibly more than most, and now it's doing it again.

The latest business getting the Nomura treatment is equities. Having pulled out of equities in 2016 and laid off around 400 people, Nomura now wants to get back in seven years later. However, it wants to do so without spending so much money and without hiring as many people.

"What we’re looking to establish is a much, much lighter cost-based business, not full service, and we think we can do that with a small headcount,” Simon Yates, Nomura’s global head of equities, told Bloomberg, describing the endeavour as both "surgical" and a "selective reentry."

 Although it's being particular about who it hires for its headcount-light revivification, Bloomberg reels off a list of 16 people Yates has picked up so far across Europe, the US and Asia, including former Goldman Sachs MD Keyvan Zolfaghari in London. They're not all from Credit Suisse, although Yates is enthusiastic about Credit Suisse people and winning Credit Suisse business. In Europe, the focus seems to be corporate equity derivatives; in Asia, it's the whole deal - cash and derivatives and prime broking. 

Nomura's renewed enthusiasm for a business it had previously sworn off of might be dismissed as just another episode in the bank's history, but it's also a reminder that banking as a whole is a cyclical industry. Times change, unfashionable businesses become popular again, as do the people who work in them. However painful 2023 is for some, things will be better - soon. It's just that next time fewer people may be hired, and on lower pay.

Separately, if you're working between 4pm and 6pm, you might be unusual. The Wall Street Journal says this has become the new time for commuting home, exercising, or childcare. Work then recommences at around 10pm to compensate. Research by Microsoft confirms that keyboard activity spikes in the morning, the afternoon and then again late at night. 

Meanwhile...

JPMorgan now employs 300,000 people, up 8% from 278,494 a year ago. And that doesn't include the 5,132 people at First Republic. (Bloomberg) 

Ian Dodd, Goldman's former head of recruitment, who left the bank in 2021, claimed that Goldman employees frequently “express distress” by crying and that “sobbing through meetings” was common behaviour, according to documents filed in the High Court. (Telegraph)

Jose M. Linares, head of Santander's corporate and investment bank, is on a hiring spree. He's already hired 20 new bankers, many of them from Credit Suisse, and wants to hire 50. Some of the new starters will arrive in August. (Reuters)

120 Credit Suisse bankers have left in total. (Financial Times)

Two Sigma, which uses machine learning and big data to make systematic trades, is interviewing traders and researchers as it builds a discretionary business across equities, macro and fixed-income investments. (Bloomberg) 

Citadel Securities wants to sign up 350 corporate bond trading clients by the end of the year. “We are not limited by client demand but more dependent on how quickly we can expand while making sure the client experience is of the highest quality.” (Financial Times) 

Binance fired a thousand people and might be cutting a third of its staff. "It has become clear that we need to focus on talent density across the organization to ensure we remain nimble and dynamic. This is not a case of rightsizing, but rather, re-evaluating whether we have the right talent and expertise in critical roles."(WSJ) 

Goldman Sachs appointed Nitin Jindal to the newly created position of head of Americas commodities trading. It hired Jindal as a partner from Morgan Stanley in more difficult times for the commodities business in 2018. (Bloomberg) 

Equity partners at one of London’s elite law firms have taken an average £130,000 pay cut amid concern that City practices are facing “challenging market conditions”. (The Times) 

Citi hired Tiina Lee from Deutsche Bank as its CEO for the UK. Lee was last seen at Deutsche talking about "tactical headcount reduction." (Financial News) 

Tom Swerling, Barclays’ global head of ECM, and Lawrence Jamieson, the bank’s head of Europe, Middle East and Africa ECM, say they've had their second-highest quarter ever for equity capital markets revenues. While there's not much activity in IPOs, it's been all about dribble outs, stake builds, share buybacks and convertible offerings. (Bloomberg) 

Two 20-something year-old friends and former Columbia University roommates - Bartek Ringwelsk and Alex Davidov - taped a $2 bill to Bear Stearns' revolving door the night JPMorgan agreed to buy Bear Stearns for that amount in 2008. (Bloomberg) 

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Photo by Sarah Mutter on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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