Governance | Outside Director's Interview

Nomura has a good board culture that is open and invites commentary and challenge

Dame Clara Furse, Outside Director
Dame Clara Furse has held a number of significant positions, including Chief Executive of the London Stock Exchange Group, and she was also made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Her achievements and insights have been evaluated highly both within and outside of the Company. Applying her global and extensive experience with respect to financial businesses, Dame Clara Furse contributes to the Company as an Outside Director.

― What are your thoughts on your mission as an outside director?

I was delighted to be asked to join the board of Nomura Holdings in 2010, a year after I stepped down as Chief Executive of the London Stock Exchange. My time at the Exchange pulled together a career in global markets with the challenge of running a complex organization and listed company that entered the FTSE-100. The Exchange was almost constantly in the public eye, valued as a national institution, but also subjected to critical media attention.

It was a period of immense change for the Exchange, as it navigated its way through a number of strategic, technological, corporate, reputational, anti-trust and shareholder challenges.

Prior to joining the Exchange, I had managed global business lines, mainly for UBS; covering commodity, currency, fixed income and derivatives markets. At that time, I was also on the boards of the LIFFE and critical parts of the financial infrastructure, notably LCH.Clearnet and Euroclear. This brought wider experience in the areas of financial networks and global inter-connectedness as well as counterparty and operational risk.

My mission as an Outside Director is to bring this financial services and corporate experience to the board table in a way that helps Nomura to deliver its global strategy and create shareholder value, by putting clients at the heart of everything it does.

― As an Outside Director of Nomura Holdings, could you please share with us your evaluation of Nomura's corporate governance system and the effectiveness of the Board of Directors?

Our board completed a self-evaluation of its effectiveness this year. This supports the aims of the Corporate Governance Code recently issued by Japan's financial authorities. I believe this important exercise showed that Nomura has a good board culture that is open and invites commentary and challenge. Suggestions to management are met with a prompt and satisfactory response. The Nomura board is already very diverse with a broad range of experience, nationalities and perspectives. Moreover, independent Outside Directors are in the majority.

A committee system has been in place since 2003 and I have a high regard for the Audit Committee, which does a thorough job of evaluating and overseeing the Company's risks. I am also pleased with the increasingly detailed and informative Risk Report presented at each board meeting; a sharp focus on risk has become vital in this more difficult, post-2008-crisis world where political risk has also increased in some important developed economies.

More recently, regular meetings for Outside Directors were introduced in order for us to exchange views and share our understanding of rapidly changing issues outside the boardroom.

Meetings attended only by Outside Directors are periodically held.

― Could you please share your thoughts on Nomura's strategy of establishing a dominant position as Asia's global investment bank?

I believe Nomura rightly sees many opportunities as Asia's global investment bank. While transforming the business model in Japan, Nomura pursues opportunities for growth across Asia, but is also in a unique position to support global clients as the most solid financial bridge between East and West. The recent strategic changes in EMEA and the Americas are important initiatives in this regard, as they are geared to stabilizing the profitability of the global franchise, thereby improving the strength and resilience of the bridge.

As regulatory authorities in all global centers endeavor to secure a strong financial system, Nomura management has worked hard to build constructive relationships; in EMEA, for example, where regulatory reform has been particularly ambitious and demanding.

I believe and expect that this strategic bridge will sustain and invite increasing amounts of 'traffic' over the coming years and decades, delivering important financial services to Nomura's clients around the world.

― What role do you think diversity should play in global management?

One of my first invitations to speak within Nomura was from WIN (Women in Nomura) in London. I was inspired by their businesslike and inclusive approach, which welcomes all employees to regular events and open discussions. I discovered that Nomura has an impressive program to assist and support employees, with generous and sensitive initiatives during maternity and parental leave.

More recently the Group COO has established a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, chaired by himself, to promote more active and diverse participation across the Company, consistent with one of the three arrows of the Abenomics Growth Strategy.

As more than 70 nationalities work for Nomura, I am pleased to see that diversity is embedded within the Company. Management is aware that this will help Nomura to deliver financial solutions to clients around the world. Nomura is committed to employee networks that support career opportunities across a wide range of nationalities, cultures, ages and levels of experience and for female employees and LGBT staff. I believe this is a source of strength that will help to drive future growth for the Company.