Nomura Holdings Inc. is entering an intriguing phase in its ambitious plans for its newly revamped currencies business, as Richard Gladwin, the bank's global head of foreign exchange, quit to take a break from the industry.
The firm restructured its foreign exchange unit in June, merging it with rates under the leadership of Steve Ashley. A person familiar with the matter said this is unrelated to Gladwin's decision. The bank declined to comment.
Nomura has been seeking to become a serious player in the super-competitive currencies market since Gladwin joined the firm in 2009, and there are no clear signs that it's pulling back now. According to the annual benchmark Euromoney poll, Nomura ranked 14th for global market share in 2011, up four places on 2010 and from 57th in 2009.
Still, banks have found it increasingly tough to turn a profit in foreign exchange in 2011, due to lower trading volumes and reduced volatility. That's made it especially hard for relative newcomers like Nomura to steal market share from industry giants like Deutsche Bank and Barclays Capital.
In July, Nomura's global head of FX sales, David Steck, hinted that picking out niches may be a wiser move for the bank than trying to snag big volumes.
"If your ability to monetize your business has diminished, then you have to make a judgement. We are trying to think smartly about what is Nomura's edge and where we can navigate profitably in foreign exchange," he told Dow Jones Newswires last month.
Eva Szalay and Jessica Mead are reporters for Dow Jones Newswires, where this story originally appeared. Write to Eva and Jessica.