A building with the signage of Nomura

Japan’s Nomura embraces digital assets in Switzerland after months of experimentation

Nomura, a Japanese investment bank, has opened a new arm with a keen focus on digital asset investments. The new arm has been christened Laser Digital and will operate as a subsidiary of its parent company, Laser Digital Holdings AG.

According to a press release, Laser Digital was incorporated in Switzerland and will “provide value in the area of digital assets” to clients. The statement revealed that Steven Ashley will serve as the firm’s chairman while Jez Mohideen will serve as its chief executive officer (CEO).

“Staying at the forefront of digital innovation is a key priority for Nomura,” said Kentaro Okuda, Group CEO of Nomura Holdings. “This is why, alongside our efforts to diversify our business, we announced earlier this year that Nomura would be setting up a new subsidiary focused on digital assets.”

The business objectives of Laser Digital have been revealed during its unveiling as one that will focus on three main areas. The areas include secondary trading, venture capital, and investment products for clients. Furthermore, customers of the new firm can expect Laser Digital to invest in decentralized finance (DeFi) firms showing growth promise, Centralized Finance firms, and early-stage companies dealing in distributed ledger technology (DLT) firms and Web 3.

Nomura’s plan to create a digital asset subsidiary was not a flash in the pan. Instead, hints were dropped by the investment bank back in May. A regional news outlet reported at that time that the staff of the new firm would be mostly Japanese until it begins to hire talent in the virtual assets industry.

Experts have noted that Nomura might have been motivated to invest in digital assets following the loss of quarterly profits from unprofitable business decisions.

“If we do not do this now, then it’s going to be more difficult down the line to be competitive,” said one Nomura executive.

The allure of Switzerland draws new visitors

Laser Digital selected Switzerland as its headquarters for a plethora of reasons. At the top is the Swiss government’s positive stance toward digital assets, with the regulators supporting the efforts of new firms in the industry. Another reason for the move to Switzerland is the proximity to potential investors, given the country’s allure for attracting capital globally.

In July, Nomura-backed digital asset custodian Komainu secured approval to operate in Dubai. Komainu chose Dubai over other jurisdictions in South East Asia because of the innovative legislation put in place by regulators to allow a level playing field for participants.

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