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Nomura Holdings says corporate client data leaked to securities firm

An internal investigation found that data on 275 companies, mainly financial institutions, was leaked to Nippon Institutional Securities Co., Nomura said Thursday in a statement

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The incident is an early test for Kentaro Okuda, who became chief executive officer at Japan’s biggest brokerage in April

Holdings Inc. said information on corporate clients was leaked by an employee to a securities firm, little more than a year after it was hauled up by the financial regulator for lax controls.

An internal investigation found that data on 275 companies, mainly financial institutions, was leaked to Nippon Institutional Securities Co., said Thursday in a statement. It included information on dealings in exchange-traded funds and transactions with Nomura’s domestic brokerage arm.

The worker shared the information at the behest of a former staff member who is now employed by Nippon Institutional Securities, a unit of Nikko Asset Management Co., Nomura said.

The incident is an early test for Kentaro Okuda, who became chief executive officer at Japan’s biggest brokerage in April. It follows an information-leak scandal last year that prompted the Financial Services Agency to order compliance improvements and led bond issuers to drop the company from underwriting deals.

Nomura apologized for the latest case and pledged to strengthen the management of customer information. It will consider taking actions including legal measures, it said in the statement.

Nippon Institutional said a sales manager at the firm received client information from Nomura on multiple occasions between January and July of this year. The manager, a former Nomura worker who joined the firm last October, shared the data with two subordinates but there’s no evidence it was divulged further, it said in a statement.

Worked Together

The current Nomura employee printed out information on clients and passed it to the former colleague, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Both had worked together at a team within the global markets department that plans ETF products, one of the people said.

An FSA official said the agency is aware of Nomura’s statement but declined to comment on the possibility of any administrative action. It is important for securities to appropriately manage information in order to maintain public trust, the official said, asking not to be identified in accordance with its policy.

The incident shows that Nomura must do more to make staff aware of the need to safeguard information, said Hironari Nozaki, a Toyo University professor. “There is room to review their organizational efforts to make employees more mindful of compliance,” said Nozaki, a former Citigroup Inc. bank analyst.

Shares of Nomura closed 1.2% higher before the announcement, paring this year’s decline to 4.2%.

Last year’s issue involved the improper sharing of information with institutional investors on potential changes to the composition of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Okuda’s predecessor Koji Nagai, who is now chairman, faced a backlash from investors following the revelations and was forced to take a pay cut.

The business improvement order that ensued was the first for Nomura since 2012, when the company was embroiled in an insider-trading scandal that led to the then CEO’s resignation.

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First Published: Fri, September 11 2020. 01:58 IST
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