Senior level FX executive exodus as Nomura waves goodbye to Tom Haskins

Giants among the interbank FX sector have experienced their fair share of low trading volumes this year, resulting in many of the largest FX dealers considering headcount reductions across the board.


Marking out the latest of such directives is Japanese banking giant Nomura Securities, which this week waved goodbye to North American Managing Director Tom Haskins, who led the firm’s FX division across United States and Canada since joining the firm in 2013.

As the most recent senior executive position in Mr. Haskins’ career, his leadership role at Nomura Securities followed extensive industry experience within major companies.

Retrospectively, Mr. Haskins spent 10 years at Morgan Stanley, also in the capacity of Managing Director, where he was responsible for FXEM sales for the Americas.

Halting Mr. Haskins’ tenure at the firm after just one year is not the only move to this effect which Nomura has taken recently.

At the end of last week, the bank took steps to reduce its headcount within its FX trading division in London, with Darren Dempsey, Max Popov, Antoine Berger and John Erratt also being made redundant.

Times had been tough during the entirety of 2014 thus far for many firms, including rival Barclays, which at one particular juncture considered letting 19,000 members of staff go across its global business.

In September, however, the fortunes of many firms took a dramatic turn for the better, with many companies across all sectors in all regions heading out of the doldrums and into record volumes, representing a remarkable return to high trading activity globally.

Many large companies such as KCG Hotspot, CME Group and Saxo Bank among others, have reported vast upturns in trading volumes for September, perhaps paving the way for firms to invest in growth as an observation by LeapRate recently demonstrated that firms err toward the cautious in times of low volatility, and reinvest in ensuring their future during buoyant times.

As Nomura reduces its FX division’s headcount by five, all of whom were key personnel, it is clear that the firm is taking a highly conservative view toward market recovery.

This week, as the volume figures for September continue to become clear, it will be interesting to note whether the apparently stellar month for those who have announced their figures for September so far is representative across the entire industry, and the effect it will have on confidence within the boardrooms.

On the topic of Japanese non-bank retail FX firms which are responsible for some 30% of the world’s retail FX order flow and are located in Nomura’s home territory, many companies are displaying a return to form in terms of trading activity, but also looking toward public listing, as in the case of GMO Research, which announced its plans to list in the near future, thus highlighting Nomura Securities’ moves this week within its Western operations as a moot point.

Volatility increases have been demonstrated across the entire global markets, and on this basis, HSBC, Barclays and JP MorganChase could be in for a change in fortunes, putting and end to what has been a very difficult year for all three.

Anglo-American interbank firms compete cheek by jowl with Asian giants such as Nomura, therefore perhaps traders at Barclays have been prudent to hold onto their positions at the company and continue to benefit from Barclays’ notoriously higher remuneration packages than those offered by its rivals which have not experienced such low performance, on the basis that should they manage to maintain their employment at the firm, it would stand them in good stead for when the good times resume.

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