Green light for Nomura mainland move

By Paul J Davies in Hong Kong

Nomura has won regulatory approval to take over a finance company from GE Capital's China business, the first step in the Japanese bank's attempt to launch banking products into the mainland Chinese market.

Nomura is applying to turn the business into a full bank and is hopeful that regulators will give it the go-ahead in a matter of months, according to a person familiar with the matter, although it will still need individual licences for each product it wants to sell. These licences are not guaranteed.

The move is important for Nomura's ambitions in Asia, where it is seen as having a good chance to build a presence across commercial and investment banking. The bank's only presence in mainland China is a couple of representative offices in Shanghai and Beijing, although it is also in the process of applying for approval to operate a securities joint venture and hunting for a potential partner.

Although the deal could allow Nomura to sell renminbi-denominated products directly to Chinese clients, it would still lack the licence to underwrite stock and bond offerings, which is why it is applying to start a securities joint venture.

Nomura reported better than expected profits this month after a one-off gain from the sale of a private equity investment and higher trading revenues in its global markets businesses.

© The Financial Times Limited 2012

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