The Next (Lack Of) Trading Casualty: Nomura's Brand New $270 Million Trading Floor

Tyler Durden's picture

Over the past several months (and years) we have been warning that the ongoing collapse in trading volumes, in part due to the lack of faith in capital markets that now have all the integrity of a rigged Vegas casino from the 1960s, in part due to investors' need to monetize assets in a world in which wages simply refuse to keep up with prices, will have not only irreversible implications on the shape of market structure, but also substantial consequences when it comes to the layout of modern banks, and associated up and downstream variables, such a jobs, real estate, support professions, municipal taxes and much more. Nowhere is this more evident (for now at least) than in the massive corporate reorganization taking place at Nomura's American division, which among many other things is about to lose its brand new $270 million trading floor even before a single trader set foot in it.

Reuters explains what we have been predicting for years:

Nomura Holdings' decision to scale back its equity trading business halts its ambitious U.S. growth plans and creates a Manhattan real-estate conundrum for Japan's biggest brokerage.


Nomura said Thursday it will move its equities execution business in the Americas, Asia and Europe to its New York-based Instinet arm as part of a broader cost-cutting plan. It will no longer buy and sell stocks using its own capital, but instead match clients' buy and sell trading orders through Instinet.


The shift reflects a broader effort by brokerage firms to reshape equities operations that have been battered by years of low trading volume and falling commissions. Companies ranging from Bank of America and Goldman Sachs to much smaller firms have been hit, and many have been trimming large, capital-intensive operations.

And while jawboning (so prevalent lately) and threatening of layoffs is one thing, it is something totally different to see what it means in practice:

The firm recently signed a 20-year lease to accommodate the growth it expected in New York. It is moving next July from lower Manhattan into 820,000 square feet spread over 16 floors to a Midtown building called Worldwide Plaza. Nomura has already spent $270 million preparing the space for trading and other operations.


As recently as May, a senior Nomura executive in the United States said the new space would allow the firm to increase staffing by another 50 percent.


That's unlikely to occur. Nomura said Thursday the Americas will bear 21 percent of its cost cuts. Personnel cuts will account for about 45 percent of the global savings, Nomura said. Specific decisions about layoffs have not yet been made, according to a spokesman.

In other words kiss the principal equity trading group goodbye, in process reducing market volumes even futher. So who will survive? The ultra low, flow margin business Instinet which Nomura bought for $1.2 billion in 2007.

For more than a year, equities traders and salespeople had expected Instinet to be folded into Nomura's broader securities operation, which includes research from 17 analysts. The Japanese firm bought Instinet in 2007 for about $1.2 billion, and in the past year has cut about 200 employees to cope with shrinking profits as trading volume and commissions fell industrywide.


Now, though, Nomura's business is being folded into Instinet, which itself recently moved into almost 100,000 square feet on three floors in another Midtown building, which it had leased until August 2020.


Nomura will continue to offer "non-execution" services such as lending to hedge funds, selling convertible securities and offering futures and options through its equities unit, but the majority of its employees are involved in trade execution.


Instinet executes about 5 percent of equities traded in the United States, and expects its market share to grow after the Nomura integration. However, the overall pie is shrinking.


"Agency brokers" such as Instinet, which do not trade with their own capital when buying or selling from clients, generate very thin profit margins that have been squeezed further by three years of declining trading volume and a decade-long plunge in commission costs.


Trading commissions paid by mutual funds, hedge funds and other institutional traders have slipped from about 15 cents a share in the 1970s to less than a penny a share over electronic systems such as Instinet.


Global fees paid by clients for trade executions dropped from $300 billion in 2007 to $220 billion in 2011, according to consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

Considering that Knight's near death experience in the beginning of August resulted in stock volumes dropping to decade lows in the month, all that remains is for Instinet to go dark next, which it most certainly will once the group no longer generates any profits as the race to the margin bottom among agency brokers begins in earnest, which in turn will make the already broken equity market completely uninhabitable and a trading venue merely for Bernanke and his ilk, whereby the Princeton professor does all in his power to push the mark to myth value of America's very much insolvent pensions and retirement accounts into the stratosphere to perpetuate for at least a few more year the illusion that America's welfare state is not totally and utterly broke.

As for Nomura's traders about to start receiving unemployment benefits, we have good news: consider this a first adopter advantage - you will have some extra time to learn valuable skills which none of your competitors currently sitting behind Bloomberg terminals but who too will soon be seeing pink slips, have, and will thus be at least modestly more marketable in a new normal in which nothing is what it used to be.

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e-man's picture

Annnnnnd, it's gone...wait, that wasn't supposed to happen to us!

Ahmeexnal's picture

Healthcare under socialist regimes: the patient comes last.


Man dies after doc takes lunch during kidney op

Published: 6 Sep 12 11:44 CET |


A 72-year-old man having a tumour removed from his kidney died after the chief anesthetist and nurse took a lunch break in the middle of the surgery.

The incident, which took place at the Lidköping hospital, has prompted stinging criticism from Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).
The 72-year-old went under anesthetic at 10.45am on the day of the operation, which took place in January 2011.

At noon sharp, the head anesthetist left the operating room to go for lunch. Fifteen minutes later, the head nurse anesthetist also left the patient and went for lunch.

ForTheWorld's picture

That's not socialist, that's just stupidity. I've worked for companies in capitalist/democratic situations (especially in banking) where staff were given verbal and written warnings if they didn't take lunch at a specified time.

matrix2012's picture

and everything is fixed, lunch starts at 12:00 and by 13:00 one is supposed to be ready at his/her desk... it's called capitalistic/democratic discipline!  applied to sheople.

Manthong's picture

You know when you go to have a major surgery and they put you deep under, then the anesthesiologist breaks to go out for a little svampsoppa, kroppkakor, and gravad lax lunch while you die?

I hate when that happens.

matrix2012's picture

Been there, done that. took one surgery long in the past that required long and deep sleep. felt the very moment of strange state between consciousness and unconsciousness.

poor soul, perhaps at 72 he was regarded as expendable, a kind of collateral damage.


Manthong's picture

I had a colonoscopy and the doc was a little stingy on the general.. I started to come to at a very inopportune time. He caught it fairly quickly, but you don’t ever want to know what that feels like.

I will stipulate a near death experience the next time.

Stock Tips Investment's picture

I think what you want to do is use properly Nomura technology and the benefits it offers NY as geographic location. The other issues are the realm of speculation.

Ahmeexnal's picture

MSM focus on gold as safe haven about to unleash "black friday" masses frantically onto the gold market:


I can’t imagine it means anything cheerful that Vladimir Putin, the Russian czar, is stockpiling gold as fast as he can get his hands on it.

According to the World Gold Council, Russia has more than doubled its gold reserves in the past five years. Putin has taken advantage of the financial crisis to build the world’s fifth-biggest gold pile in a handful of years, and is buying about half a billion dollars’ worth every month.

No one else in the world plays global power politics as ruthlessly as Russia’s chilling strongman, the man who effectively stole a Super Bowl ring from Bob Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, when they met in Russia some years ago.

Putin’s moves may matter to your finances, because there are two ways to look at gold.

On the one hand, it’s an investment that by most modern standards seems to make no sense. It generates no cash flow and serves no practical purpose. Warren Buffett has pointed out that we dig it out of one hole in the ground only to stick it in another, and anyone watching this from Mars would be very confused.

You can forget claims that it’s “real” money. There’s no such thing. Money is just an accounting device, a way of keeping track of how much each of us produces and consumes. Gold is a shiny and somewhat tacky looking metal that is malleable, durable and heavy. A recent research paper by Duke University’s Campbell Harvey and co-author Claude Erb raised serious questions about most of the arguments in favor of gold as an investment.

But there’s another way to look at gold: As the most liquid reserve in times of turmoil, or worse.

The big story of our era is not that the Spanish government is broke, nor is it that Paul Ryan apparently feels the need to embellish his running record. It’s that the United States, which has dominated the world’s economy for several lifetimes, is in relative decline.

As was first reported here in April of last year, according to International Monetary Fund calculations, the U.S. is on track to lose its status as the world’s biggest economy—when measured in real, purchasing-power terms—to China by 2017.

We will soon be the first people in two hundred years to live in a world not dominated by either Pax Americana or Pax Britannica. This sort of changing of the guard has never been peaceful. The declines of the Spanish, French and British empires were all accompanied by conflict. The decline of British hegemony was a leading cause of the First and Second World Wars.

Pubcoceo's picture

Except there has been no decline in British hegemony, it is more dominant than ever, only more covert.

matrix2012's picture

thanks for the highlight, Ahmeexnal

feel strange to read such news about Putin and Gold from, The Wall Street Journal. Thing will be more comprehendible if it's coming from KingWorldNews :D

try to wonder less, after all we do all live in interesting times…

scatterbrains's picture

"It will no longer buy and sell stocks using its own capital, but instead match clients' buy and sell trading orders through instinet" 

Does this mean they've managed to completely unload their book into the bernank pump? and does this signal the end of the pump side of this massive fed stoked pump and dump is almost upon us ?

LongSoupLine's picture



HA HA HA HAAAA!  Fuck you Nomura, you Primary Stealing piece of shit.  May you be the first of a tidal wave of rapidly rotting and stench filled Primary Dealer deaths!  (did I mention fuck you?)

AgShaman's picture

I think MF Global beat 'em to that dirtnap

banksterhater's picture

One Fed Prez said " I don't know why we need Primary Dealers, on CNBC, it WAS NOT REPORTED, can't rem his name.


earleflorida's picture

funny,... every company that bought up the lehman [3?] pie are slowly turning into cadavors...

matrix2012's picture

with each pie of the [SOLOMON] Lehman Brothers, comes the deadly curses akin to the ones of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

The curses and enslavement to the mankind by the Seeing Eye as in 'Annuit Cœptis - Novus Ordo Seclorum'


Andrew Hitchcock's masterpiece of the World 2.5-Century Timeline, "The History of the House..." - or its terser .ppt version:

and Amanita's "Bilderberg Conference 2010: watch out!" -



"Maybe this world is another planet's hell." -- Aldous Huxley, author of 'Brave New World', 'Brave New World Revisited', 'The Doors of Perception', etc.

Hype Alert's picture

I wonder, now that we've pumped up everybody's 401k, who will they sell that crap to when they retire?  Stocks are only valuable if there is a buyer.

matrix2012's picture

next one or two generations of sheeople... or even unborn ones

"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted." -- Aldous Huxley, author of 'Brave New World', 'Brave New World Revisited', 'The Doors of Perception', etc.

saturn's picture

Trading floor for ghosts.. or does anyone trade anymore?

Amish Hacker's picture

No, but if you could convert those 820,000 sq. ft. in mid-town Manhattan into one-bedroom apartments, worth a million $ per unit, you'd really be onto something.

CvlDobd's picture

Ever seen stocks twits? It's the highest concentration of socially networked billionaires I've ever seen! You should have seen that shit today, everyone was killing it because every single one was levered long QQQ and SWHC going into today.

So yes, lots of people trade and EVERYONE is awesome as shit at it!

machineh's picture

"It will no longer buy and sell stocks using its own capital, but instead match clients' buy and sell trading orders through instinet" 

This is a job that computers can do -- no humans needed at all, except to sweep the floors and replace the occasional burnt-out vacuum tube.

sessinpo's picture

We need humans to sweep the floors?

ptoemmes's picture

Roomba and Scooba think not...

Umh's picture

Can you really pump one of those tubes enough to burn it out;

Pubcoceo's picture

Somebody has to be ready to turn off the hft algo machine thingy

sessinpo's picture

Well of course this happened. We had to move this venue to a smaller place because of the weather. It certainly wasn't because the volume has dropped and we couln't fill all the seats.


Thank goodness Obama said they didn't build it.

pashley1411's picture

You have a point.   Maybe Nomura should simply wrap up its trading floor with a big red ribbon and offer it to the Smithsonian, now, for a tax writeoff, so future generations can actually see what that ancient primitive custom called "stock trading" looked like.  

True.North's picture

No wonder they suck so bad...all those TVs are tuned to CNBC. If they just switched them over to Zerohedge TV, they'd be killing it.


Or just buy gold, bitchez.

Mr. Lucky's picture

Value engineering for your 401K.

ziggy59's picture

Maybe they can use the write off..

dwayne elizando's picture

Maybe Smith & Wesson could buy the place and use it as a shooting range? Name it the Bullet Exchange!

Colonel Klink's picture

"Name it the Bullet Exchange!"

They already have that, it's called the NYPD.  The civilians pay for the purchase of ammunition and the NYPD returns it back into the civilians.


Gun control should be hitting your intended target, not the free exchange of goods.

alien-IQ's picture

This is obviously, like everything else...bullish.....Right?

chump666's picture

I knew a FX trader who worked for BoJ years ago, he did mention to me when he worked there at the time,  the floor also had a "dummy" look.  Meaning?  It was half just to show clients i.e look impressive, phones weren't even connected on some desks. 

Looks like it still goes on.



Freddie's picture

The Dems/obama Convention had dummies and also their voters/delegates dummies to make the place look full.  The real dummies were less hateful/violent and more intelligent.

buzzsaw99's picture

telephone sanitisers

ZeroPower's picture

FICC business still alive and well, any equities business is just beating a dead dog.

dime2962's picture

Hey thanks for building and retaining our clients in these difficult times. We got this order matching engine with fancy algos....we no longer need carbon based traders...If you guys can be out of here by 4pm today that would be can put your Blackberrys in that box over there on your way out. 

Ok, super...Thanks!

pamriallc's picture

Decisions such as these demonstrate the DEFLATION that we should be praying for in markets where there's simply zero demand and yet with enough money printing and zero interest rate policy, the toxic combination makes return on capital investment NEGATIVE and this marginalization trend is likely to remain uncomfortably persistent for another 5 years or so while we soak up all of this excess capacity. Should the government try and stimulate more.....this process will remain ELONGATED as more and more malinvestment occurs at the expense of actually prudent, profit earning capital expenditures.

daz's picture

if you don't do HFT... you are the target. 


AgShaman's picture

"This town is full of....Money-Grabbers...go ahead, bite the 'Big Apple'...don't mind the maggots"


LeisureSmith's picture

That picture made me think of the ending scene from Rollover.

Zero Govt's picture

the link between Las Vegas and Banking and Finance is that they're both going to look like the Las Vegas property market ...over bullt and vacant

the London property market is staggering, it' not felt recession at all to date ...wait until Europe implodes and the 2nd leg down in the British recession which has just begun

the bigger they are the harder they fall.. London could be absolute carnage in a few years