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How Top Sales Teams Adapt in a Crisis

The reigning leader in Japanese equity sales outlines its plans to service clients during a global pandemic.

No doubt about it: Nomura is No. 1 in Japanese equity sales. 

For the third consecutive year, the Tokyo-based bank has topped Institutional Investor’s All-Japan Sales Team in a decisive ranking by buy-side money managers. 

More than 380 investors from 227 firms were asked to consider six attributes when rating Japanese sales teams: understanding of client needs; idea generation; service and responsiveness; global context; value added to research; and market knowledge and feel. Their responses were then weighted based on how much their firms spend on commissions.

Nomura was voted first in each category, cementing its leading position in the Japanese market. The triumph echoes the bank’s continued success in Institutional Investor’s All-Japan Research Team, where Nomura tied with Daiwa Securities Group as the country’s top research provider. 

Daiwa was a formidable competitor here as well, improving on 2019’s fourth place finish in the commission-weighted ranking to take second place this year. Meanwhile, SMBC Nikko Securities and Mizuho Securities fell one spot each to place third and fourth, respectively. The highest rated international provider was JPMorgan Chase & Co., which rose from seventh place to crack the top five.

A separate ranking of equity sales teams, created by weighting survey responses by assets under management, produced an identical top five. In both cases, domestic firms were largely favored over international competitors — a trend also seen in equity research.

[II Deep Dive: Nomura Stays on Top in Japan]

According to Takehiko Shishikura, a managing director at Nomura Securities, his sales team is able to differentiate itself from competitors through the strength of firm’s research product. “We continue to offer a wide range of research products from thematic reports to deep dive reports to meet the needs of our clients,” he said. 

Like the rest of the world, Shishikura said clients are currently focused on the global impact of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“Although the market has turned volatile due to the spread of the coronavirus around the world, our clients remain focused on protecting their performance over the long term,” he said. “Investors are making use of the current situation to enhance their portfolio; some investors are picking high quality stocks, while other investors are trying to reduce gross exposure until market volatility comes down. More clients, such as hedge funds, are focusing on ESG.”

In response, Nomura has adjusted its coverage and frequency. “We are delivering collaborative [Asia-Pacific] macro research on the impact of the coronavirus as well as timely sector reports explaining how the virus impacts different industries and companies,” Shishikura said. “We also offer broad ESG-related coverage.”

These efforts require daily coordination between the research team and the sales team, he added. “We interact closely with the research team on a daily basis,” Shishikura said. “We discuss the feedback we receive from our clients with them and this helps them enhance their products.”

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