The largest investment bank in Japan, Nomura, is set to establish a new subsidiary company to help institutional clients invest in cryptocurrency and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
The Financial Times reported on Tuesday, May 17, that people with knowledge of Nomura’s plans said the firm will bring together several crypto services under one single company with a staff of about 100 people by 2023.
Nomura is one of Japan’s ten largest banks with $569 billion in assets under management as of Q1 2022.
Nikkei Asia, a Japanese news outlet, reported that the subsidiary company will be established abroad but the board will start off seated by Nomura transplants while the company acquires talent in the Web3 and blockchain space. It will initially be led by Jez Mohideen, Nomura’s head of wholesale digital operations.
The bank appears to be feeling mounting pressure to become more intimately acquainted with the burgeoning blockchain technology and digital asset industry. One Nomura executive told the Financial Times that “If we don’t do this, then it’s going to be more difficult down the line to be competitive.”
The move to expand crypto services comes at an interesting juncture for Nomura. Just last week on May 12, Bloomberg reported the bank began offering Bitcoin (BTC) derivatives trading to Asian clients. Trades are executed on CME Group’s platform, which handled 6,944 Bitcoin futures contracts on May 16.
Nomura must now also combat the prospect of losing most of its quarterly profits due to a $345 million writedown on a transaction that the FT also reported on May 17, which happened during the 2008 economic downturn. The bank has not specified which transaction it was. A writedown is a reduction in the value of a transaction or asset.