Nomura considers having fewer staff at headquarters permanently

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Nomura Securities is pictured at the company's Otemachi Head Office in Tokyo, Japan, November 18, 2016. Picture taken November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Nomura Holdings Inc 8604.T is considering having fewer staff work at its Tokyo headquarters permanently now that the coronavirus pandemic has spurred a huge shift to remote working, its chief executive said.

Around 80% of staff at Nomura’s headquarters in the financial district of Otemachi have been working from home due to the outbreak.

“Do we need such a lot of staff in Otemachi? Do we need that much workspace here? I would like to discuss those issues,” Kentaro Okuda told Reuters in an interview, adding that the company would conduct a review of the matter.

Japan’s biggest investment bank and brokerage occupies most floors of the 22-storey Otemachi building, but it declined to specify how many people it employs there or what size of reduction in staff working at the offices it was looking at.

Firms across the world are looking at changing their work-from-office cultures with tech firms leading the way. Facebook Inc FB.O said last month it will permanently embrace remote work even after coronavirus lockdowns ease and Twitter Inc TWTR.N has also said some employees can work from home indefinitely.

Reduced rent could help Nomura which has struggled to expand successfully overseas and been hit by competition from online stock-trading rivals. It has announced three major rounds of cost cuts since 2011, including one last year when it said it was seeking to reduce costs by 140 billion yen ($1.3 billion) by March 2022.

Okuda also said he is looking at scaling back Nomura’s retail branches in the wake of the pandemic without providing details. Nomura has 128 retail branches in Japan.

The interview was conducted last week and embargoed for release on Wednesday.

($1 = 107.5600 yen)

Reporting by Takashi Umekawa and Takaya Yamaguchi; Editing by Edwina Gibbs