Japanese bank Nomura is understood to be bringing on board a senior executive to head fund selection for its Asia wealth management business.

If confirmed – and a source told AsianInvestor an announcement would be made next month – this would become the latest senior appointment following a string of top-level executive hires since the bank set up its wealth management division for Asia ex-Japan in June last year.

Nomura’s wealth business outside of Japan has been around for years but was little known until last year because the focus had been on the integration of Lehman Brothers' Asian business into the group. Nomura acquired Lehman in 2008, providing the Japanese group with a global investment banking franchise.

Since the creation of the wealth management division, Nomura has gone full force in building the product platform and senior team. It hired Amanda Chen in January as deputy head of the wealth management division from Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management as reported.

Chen told AsianInvestor: "Before I joined, the management team at Nomura comprised mainly Japanese executives. I am the first local hire to be running the wealth management business, which demonstrates the group’s commitment to Asia ex-Japan."

Chen has been working on building the product platform and the team, which she expects to be almost complete in the next three months. 

“We used to be lean in terms of the number of product offerings. But we have worked on including a lot more choice of fund managers to distribute to our clients. It is a work in progress,” Chen said.

In terms of management hires, Chen declined to comment when asked if the next appointment would be a senior executive in charge of fund selection. But a senior source has told AsianInvestor that a person has been chosen for the role and a formal announcement will be made in October.

"We will continue to build our platform and expand our team and coverage areas," said Chen. "We will hire more bankers. We want seasoned bankers to work in a relatively flat organisation to grow the business."

Nomura currently has about 75 bankers (45 in Singapore and 30 in Hong Kong). In total, it has close to 200 staff in wealth management outside Japan.

Asked why Nomura had decided to expand into regional wealth management at this time, Chen replied: “Nomura has a dominant retail and private client business in Japan. For us to expand outside Japan and aim to become a dominant player in Asia should not come as a surprise.”

She noted that Nomura would provide the same wealth management solutions and services as other private banks. “What will differentiate us is our access to Japan," she added. "For clients at a certain wealth level, we offer them access through investment banking, asset management and global markets."

Chen declined to give the AUM for wealth management. Nomura as a group has a total AUM of $1 trillion in Asia under the retail division, which includes wealth management.