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The 2016 Tech 50: Yasuki Okai

The president of NRI Holdings America drops to No. 45 on this year’s Tech 50 ranking.

Yasuki Okai
NRI Holdings America

The longtime head of Nomura Research Institute’s financial technology solutions group, Yasuki Okai, relocated to New York last year to spearhead the Tokyo-based systems consulting company’s international growth. But Japan remains NRI’s center of gravity — the ¥421 billion ($3.5 billion)-in-revenue firm began life in the 1960s as a Nomura Securities International think tank — and the site of its most globally significant projects. Nomura Securities is still a top customer, and Okai says a milestone last year was the brokerage’s replacement of its in-house retail and capital markets back offices with NRI’s STAR and I-STAR hosted, or application service provider, platforms. The conversion both lowered Nomura Securities’ costs and simplified its technology architecture. “This highlights the trend that major broker-dealers are focusing more on technology-cost reduction because of issues such as regulatory compliance,” says Okai, 53, who has worked for NRI since it entered the tech solutions business in 1988. He points to a posttrade outsourcing deal with UBS Securities Co. in Japan, announced last September, as “a very significant achievement for us because it was the first utility service in Japan for investment banks.” At a time when many firms are trying to reduce fixed costs, “this implementation signifies that NRI was able to join the competition to make utility service happen for investment banks’ entire back-office operations.” NRI in June acquired Hingham, Massachusetts-based investment operations consulting firm Cutter Associates, which has more than 200 asset management, insurance and pension fund clients worldwide. In April, NRI launched the second phase of what it termed a “proof of concept to examine the applicability of blockchain technology for securities markets,” with collaborators including Japan Exchange Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Nomura Securities and SBI Securities. “We are excited to be leading the charge with great partners,” says Okai, though he believes it could take ten years for the “big change” of distributed ledger to take hold.

Visit The 2016 Tech 50: Making Financial Serivces Faster, Cheaper, Bigger for more.

The 2016 Tech 50

1. Catherine
Bank of America Corp.
2. Jeffrey Sprecher
Intercontinental Exchange
3. Lance Uggla
4. Phupinder Gill
CME Group
5. Shawn Edwards and Vlad Kliatchko
6. R. Martin Chavez
Goldman Sachs Group
7. Robert Goldstein
8. Adena Friedman
9. Deborah Hopkins
Citi Ventures
10. Daniel Coleman
KCG Holdings
11. Stephen Neff
Fidelity Investments
12. David Craig
Thomson Reuters
13. Michael Spencer
14. Michael Bodson
Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.
15. Charles Li
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
16. Chris Concannon
BATS Global Markets
17. Blythe Masters
Digital Asset Holdings
18. David Rutter
19. Neil Katz
D.E. Shaw & Co.
20. Lee Olesky
Tradeweb Markets
21. Richard McVey
MarketAxess Holdings
22. Seth Merrin
Liquidnet Holdings
23. Robert Alexander
Capital One Financial Corp.
24. Brad Katsuyama
IEX Group
25. Antoine Shagoury
State Street Corp.
26. David Gledhill
DBS Bank
27. Lou Eccleston
TMX Group
28. Andreas Preuss
Deutsche BÖrse
29. Dan Schulman
PayPal Holdings
30. Scott Dillon
Wells Fargo & Co.
31. Mike Chinn
S&P Global Market Intelligence
32. Craig Donohue
Options Clearing Corp.
33. Gary Norcross
Fidelity National Information Services
34. Steven O'Hanlon
35. Sebastián Ceria
36. Michael Cooper
BT Radianz
37. Tyler Kim
38. Neal Pawar
AQR Capital Management
39. David Harding
Winton Capital Management
40. Chris Corrado
London Stock Exchange Group
41. Brian Conlon
First Derivatives
42. Jim Minnick
43. Stephane Dubois
44. Mazy Dar
45. Yasuki Okai
NRI Holdings America
46. Kim Fournais
Saxo Bank
47. Jock Percy
48. Robert Schifellite
Broadridge Financial Solutions
49. Brian Sentance
Xenomorph Software
50. Pieter van der Does

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