Nomura Aims for More Sustainable Wall Street Role
By Antony Currie
Nomura’s topsy-turvy history of trying to build a successful US investment bank has made it the butt of rivals’ jokes. Now the Japanese group is taking another stab, buying renewable-energy boutique Greentech Capital Advisors. There’s reason to think Nomura has some decent odds of making this one work.
Some of its past ventures have become almost legendary for the toll they took. Chief among these was Nomura’s dive into American real estate towards the end of the millennium. Set up in part by Ethan Penner, who some credit with creating commercial mortgage-backed securities, the unit made a bumper profit for a few years before crashing in the wake of Russia’s sovereign-debt default in 1998. Huge bets on emerging markets worsened the pain.
A decade later, Nomura hoped to take advantage of the financial crisis by snapping up Lehman Brothers’ European business out of bankruptcy and going on a hiring spree stateside. It also bought US equity brokerage Instinet in 2007.
Photo courtesy of Ryk Porras.