Nomura Asset Management is the big fish in a medium-sized pond. With around $200 billion of assets under management, it is the biggest fund house in the country. As Japan emerges from its lost decade, domestic capital markets recover and financial services companies look to grow their businesses, Nomura AM is keen to be more than just a provider of Japanese securities investments for foreigners, or a provider of international product to Japanese clients. The big fish wants to swim in the big pond.

To that end it is opening more offices globally, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. So far this involves selling its expertise in Japanese and Asian equities, and even Japanese bonds, to investors in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. According to Tamon Watanabe, senior managing director in charge of institutional business, about half of the firmÆs institutional assets are sourced from non-Japanese clients.

"Japan has a short history of asset management," he says. "We are not globalised. But Nomura Asset Management is aggressively pursuing overseas business."

The firm has beefed up offices in Hong Kong and Singapore, has recently opened one in Seoul, and is close to opening a new one in Southeast Asia.

"More Asian institutions invest globally so this is a big opportunity," Watanabe says. "But our challenge is having a global product offering, not just Asia or Japan. We need to strengthen our global products."

The firmÆs ambitions will be advanced if it can secure one important institutional client from Asia that gives Nomura a global mandate.

Watanabe says the other part of NomuraÆs global strategy is to launch mutual funds in other markets. It has just introduced a line of Japanese-oriented mutual funds in the United States, and wants to follow up this year in Asia. It is preparing to list funds in Europe, in either Luxembourg or Dublin, to be sold into markets such as Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

Nomura has already begun building distribution relationships. Last year for the first time it worked with Samsung Investment Trust Management to offer a Japanese real-estate investment trust product to Korean investors.