Nomura Trading Veteran Ashley Steps Down For Crypto Role
Steve Ashley had a lengthy tenure as Nomura's trading head that was recently scarred by losses from Archegos Capital Management.
(Bloomberg) -- Steve Ashley, Nomura Holdings Inc.’s head of trading and investment banking, is stepping down to take on a new role at the brokerage’s cryptocurrency business, marking the end of a lengthy tenure that was recently scarred by losses from Archegos Capital Management.
Christopher Willcox will replace Ashley as head of Nomura’s wholesale division on Oct. 1, Japan’s largest brokerage said in a statement. Willcox joined Nomura last year as co-chief executive officer of its Americas unit when the firm installed fresh leadership following the Archegos collapse. He was previously head of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s asset-management business and worked at Citigroup Inc. for 15 years.
Nomura’s wholesale business was roiled last year after it took a roughly $2.9 billion hit from its dealings with Archegos, a family office set up to manage the fortune of trader Bill Hwang. The firm suspended executives, pulled back from some businesses and said it would take steps to improve risk management in the wake of the debacle.
Ashley will become chairman of the new Swiss subsidiary, Laser Digital Holdings AG, that will focus on digital assets, according to the statement. Jez Mohideen, who currently oversees the crypto business, will become chief executive officer of the entity.
A former senior trader at Royal Bank of Scotland -- which has since been renamed NatWest Group Plc -- Ashley joined Nomura as head of rates trading in 2010 and took charge of all trading businesses in 2012. He later rose to the head of the wholesale division, which includes a sprawling trading business, as well as underwriting and advising on mergers and acquisitions.
The brokerage’s wholesale business generated profit throughout Ashley’s tenure, though it grappled with poor risk controls and repeated overhauls. In Europe, Nomura struggled to establish a base of long-term clients to generate a steady flow of revenue and at times relied too heavily on traders making outsize bets, Bloomberg reported in 2018.
Nomura is now pushing into digital assets in what Chief Executive Officer Kentaro Okuda has called a “critical part” of efforts to bolster profit. In May, Ashley became chairman of the new entity set up to help institutional clients access products and services tied to cryptocurrencies, stable coins and non-fungible tokens. The firm has also started offering Bitcoin derivatives to clients in Asia.
Ashley’s leadership “will be critical to the growth and success of our new digital asset business,” Okuda said in the statement.
Satoshi Kawamura will succeed Willcox as head of Nomura Holding America and Nomura Securities International, two key subsidiaries, according to the statement. Vincent Primiano, a veteran of the firm’s US operations, will also assume senior leadership roles at those divisions and provide “day-to-day oversight of our Americas business,” according to the statement.
(Updates with Nomura confirmation and details throughout.)
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