Henson Orser on the Pivot of Western and Eastern Markets

Business Today’s 44th International Conference had the opportunity to feature Henson Orser, who serves as the Global Head of Wholesale Senior Relationship Management at Nomura. Nomura is one of the top investment banks based out of Asia, which has its origins in Japan. During the IC’s executive seminar and the interview afterwards, Orser described both his role within Nomura and broader global developments students should pay attention to.

Situated perfectly in context of the Conference’s discussion of the future of work and the conversations on the impact of technology on the workforce, Orser described the transformation of roles that have allowed younger people to step in and reduce the need for managing directors and other high touch point salespeople. “We’ve juniorized the salesforce as we have processed more transactions electronically, which has been a great cost benefit in the flow businesses. What we’ve then lost is the senior level connectivity and the ability to have strategic discussions.” Accordingly, part of Orser’s role at Nomura is to meet with senior clients from across the globe and to ensure that strategic discussions continue between the two firms. From those conversations, Orser seeks to identify synergistic relationships and partnerships that can be formed with clients.

Post Global Financial Crisis, Nomura used its strong financial position and dominant domestic market share to grow internationally including acquiring Lehman’s Asia and European assets and growing organically in the United States. Nomura’s unique position “connecting markets East and West” has also provided Orser with a breadth of insight on fundamental economic trends. One of the most notable developments that Orser recommends students interested in international business should pay attention to is the relationship between China and the US. Indeed, because of the tensions between the US and China, China has begun to refocus on building relationships with other countries. Orser described China’s move towards “investing and fostering bilateral relationships, which may have been relatively neglected based on how much attention they’re paying to the United States.”

Notably, “China and Japan, over the last five years [went] from having [a] frosty relationship over historical issues … to working on big business opportunities and investments.” As an example of this pivot, Orser describes the partnership between China Investment Corporation and Nomura with other Japanese financial institutions, who’ve announced a multibillion industrial cooperation fund that they’re planning to launch together.

Another broader macroeconomic theme is the “pivot of western financial institutions recognizing the opportunities in Asia and needing a better understanding of the availabilities there and potential partners.” A similar pivot can also be observed in Asia, where many clients are seeking products which provide international exposure.

“This East turns West and West turns East is the hottest topic right now. [Nomura is] perfectly positioned to give the best advice around that.”