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Nomura bankers learning to live with Western-style culture of bonus awards

STAFF at Japanese brokerage Nomura are warming to a Western-style pay structure that places more weight on bonuses, its chief executive Kenichi Watanabe said yesterday.<br /><br />Watanabe said more than half of the firm&rsquo;s 1,600 investment bankers had signed up to contracts similar to those that existed at the Lehman Brothers operations Nomura bought last autumn.<br /><br />The new contracts will see employees&rsquo; basic rate of pay slashed and make them easier to sack, in return for potentially lucrative performance-related bonus awards.<br /><br />Nomura has embarked on a drive to expand into Europe, recruiting more than 500 bankers in Europe since the beginning of the year.<br /><br />But despite European efforts to curb the bonus culture, Nomura is moving in the opposite direction, potentially giving it an advantage in recruiting the best talent.<br /><br />Watanabe also said the firm would be profitable in 2009, despite falling to a record 709bn yen (&pound;4.5bn) loss last year as a result of hefty writedowns and costs associated with the Lehman purchase.&nbsp;