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Business

Japan's SMBC Nikko to raise overseas staff by half

Brokerage aims to expand operations in global financial centers

TOKYO -- Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group unit SMBC Nikko Securities will increase its overseas staff to about 750 people by the end of fiscal 2020 from 500 at present, aiming to better handle efforts by domestic and foreign companies to procure funds abroad.

The Japanese brokerage trails competitors in overseas operations, as it only resumed them in 2010 after a decade-long break. SMBC Nikko intends to speed its expansion by deepening a partnership with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., a fellow group member.

The financial group is pushing to expand securities dealings and other financing operations abroad. Overseas lending has been growing for the banking unit, but SMBC Nikko's foreign business has been thin. The latter is bolstering its ranks in order to strengthen operations including underwriting corporate bonds as well as trading bonds and other instruments.

Financial hot spots such as London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore will see the bulk of the personnel growth. SMBC Nikko also is set to establish a branch in Germany's Frankfurt for continental European operations, prompted by Britain's pending divorce from the European Union, and hereafter will continue reinforcing its German setup.

The company that is now SMBC Nikko scaled back business abroad through its main body after forming an investment banking joint venture in 1999 with America's Citigroup. By the time of its 2009 acquisition by SMFG, that main body had no overseas operations department and effectively had to rebuild it from the ground up.

Domestic competitors such as Nomura Holdings and megabank Mizuho Financial Group have overseas staffs in the thousands, far outstripping SMBC Nikko even after this planned 50% expansion. But SMBC Nikko aims to raise profitability and stay competitive using tools such as artificial intelligence and electronic trading.

(Nikkei)

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