Koichi Ikegami, head of corporate communications at Nomura, visited Nomura’s London office last year and wrote of his impressions in the Nikkei Business Online (article in Japanese). He had worked in Nomura’s London offices for 2.5 years some thirty years ago, as a graduate trainee. What struck him as different now, on meeting some of the former Lehman Brothers people who became part of Nomura in 2008, was that they referred to themselves as EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), which made him feel Nomura had become a truly global company, and that London was not just the UK market, but was the core of Europe, Middle East and Africa.
He points out that plenty of effort has gone into realising this, and that it is a logical strategy, given that the USA represents 40% of the global equity market, whereas Japan is only 8% and the UK only 7%. Not only has the City of London deregulated itself, but has tried to make the accounting and disclosure rules, which differ from country to country, as easy to understand as possible for investors.
Around a third [actually more like 40% these days] of London’s 7.5 million population are foreign born. Unsurprisingly, the participants who came to his seminars therefore had Arab, African and Asian origins as well as European. He also discovered that when he asked the participants about their “identity”, very few simply stated their nationalities – most of them had parents of different nationalities or were brought up in another country or educated outside their home country.
He contrasted this to his visit to New York in 2010. He felt that although New York is equally diverse ethnically, “American” as a nationality dominates and there is a strong sense of “USA is the world” as he put it. Most of Nomura New York employees are American, and the market is sufficiently large that they do not have to look elsewhere for profitable growth.
Ikegami is promoting Nomura’s “Diversity and Integration” initiative – which has three themes – “Life and Family”, “Women in Nomura” and “Multicultural Values” – and this very much includes Nomura in Japan. As Ikegami says – for the three arrows of Abenomics to succeed, Japanese people themselves have to play a major part.
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