Nomura targets sovereign wealth funds with new hire from RBS

Nomura poaches yet another RBS banker, Henrik Melph, to head sales to central banks and sovereign wealth funds.

Nomura has hired Henrik Melph from Royal Bank of Scotland as part of an effort to win more business from central banks and sovereign wealth funds.

Melph, who will assume the role of global head of central bank and sovereign wealth fund sales, is well-placed to target this client base, having worked in a similar role at RBS for the past five years – and at UBS before that, selling liquid products to central banks.

The two client groups are often closely linked. Sovereign wealth funds, such as China’s CIC, help countries with vast trade imbalances to diversify their foreign reserves away from the central bank’s usual mix of US Treasuries, Japanese government bonds and European agency issuers.

In this new position for Nomura, based in Singapore, Melph will coordinate a global sales push, working with sovereign wealth and central bank teams in Asia, London and New York.

“After the integration with Lehman, once we had added enough critical mass, it made sense to work on delivering a more consistent service,” said George Sun, Nomura’s head of credit sales for Asia ex-Japan. “Some central banks have offices in New York and the UK, as well as their home base, so there are three sets of people dealing with the client, which means that you need some global coordination.”

Melph joins a growing band of RBS bankers who have moved to Nomura recently, including his new boss Chris Fleming, global head of rates sales based in London, and Steve Ashley, global head of rates based in Tokyo, both of whom started in May. At the time of their departure from RBS in February, they were reported to have been disgruntled at the taxpayer-owned bank’s crackdown on bonuses.

Sun said that neither Ashley nor Fleming were responsible for approaching Melph. “We were talking to him separately,” he said.

Among Nomura’s other recent RBS hires, including a team of equities researchers in Australia, Bob Janujeh is perhaps the most prominent. The London-based economist is known as the most pessimistic strategist in the City, earning him the nickname Permabear.

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