Surprise as Nomura carries on quietly hiring in Hong Kong

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The current quarter is supposed to be all about cost cutting at Nomura. In April, Nomura made around 100 investment bankers and traders redundant, including some in Singapore, when it announced a new strategy aimed at scaling back operations outside of Japan and saving $1bn in expenses.

This does not mean that Nomura has stopped hiring expensive senior bankers, however. Earlier this month Zonia Lau, who formerly worked for Citi, joined the Japanese firm’s healthcare investment banking team in Hong Kong as an executive director, according to her online profile.

Her move comes just a few weeks after Gordon Youl came on board from Barclays as head of DCM transaction management and joint head of the corporate finance group, both for Asia ex-Japan. In Hong Kong, the Japanese firm clearly still needs to make sure it has enough senior deal makers within its ranks.

Lau’s coverage sector, healthcare, is becoming more important for Nomura and other global banks in Hong Kong. Rules introduced in 2018, which allow biotechnology companies to more easily list in Hong Kong, have boosted initial public offering activity in the sector. Global healthcare deals are expected to top $400bn this year, up from $308bn in 2018, with Asia helping to fuel the growth, according to law firm Baker McKenzie.

Lau spent just 13 months at Citi and was a Hong Kong-based senior vice president. It was her first job in Asia. After completing a JD-MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Lau began her banking career in 2013 as an investment banking associate at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. She transferred to London with the US bank in 2015 and was latterly a vice president in its global healthcare investment banking team.

We understand that Lau is now reporting directly into Vijay Karwal, Nomura’s Hong Kong-based head of healthcare investment banking for Asia ex-Japan. Karwal joined Nomura last September, following a two-year stint as chief APAC development officer at healthcare company DaVita Kidney Care.

Image credit: lolostock, Getty

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