Barack Obama, Hu Jintao and other leaders of the Group of 20 nations signed on to an ambitious package of economic and regulatory reforms in Pittsburgh last month, including everything from rules on bankers pay to a commitment to rebalance national economic policies. It will be months, if not years, before we know whether those far-reaching pledges will actually be fulfilled, but the leaders did make one permanent change to the global governance landscape: They formally established the G-20 as the main forum for international economic policymaking, replacing the old G-7 directorate.
The change is a welcome, if belated, recognition of the dispersal of economic power and wealth around the globe in recent decades, something with which our readers have long been familiar. The emergence of dynamic markets in countries from Brazil to China to Turkey has been one of the biggest growth opportunities of recent years. Figuring out how to capitalize on those openings is a challenge for all financial executives.
Kenichi Watanabe, for one, didnt hesitate when an opportunity arose. The chief executive of Nomura Holdings, Japans largest brokerage firm, acquired the European and Asian operations of Lehman Brothers Holdings after their U.S. parent collapsed in September 2008. As Institutional Investor Asia Bureau Chief Allen T. Cheng reports in Global or Bust, beginning on page 34, the deal represents a bold attempt by Nomura to gain worldwide scale at a single stroke.
The Japanese firms previous attempts at international expansion have ended in failure. Now its up to Watanabe and his team to prove that Nomura finally deserves a seat at the table of global high finance.