Nicola Roseman is Executive Director at Nomura’s Hong Kong Office in addition to acting as co-head of the firm’s Women in Nomura (WIN) network for their Asia excluding Japan region. She began her career as a trainee accountant at Falkirk Council before relocating to Tokyo and New York for roles at Deutsche Bank, subsequently moving back to Tokyo to join Lehman Brothers before it was acquired by Nomura in 2008. Nicola went on to relocate to Nomura’s Hong Kong office, where she is based today.
“…we want to explore some of the challenges that women face in the workplace, and more importantly, how we can change the situation and where the solutions may lie…”
Building a career that could provide global opportunities
Finance was always an interesting area for me; I wanted to build a career that could provide global opportunities. I began my career in local government in Scotland as a trainee accountant in the 1990s which was a great training ground and then I moved into the manufacturing industry once I qualified to gain more commercial experience.
In 2000, I relocated to Tokyo and joined Deutsche Bank as a regional Business Area Controller for the IT & Operations divisions. This was an opportunity to build on my management accounting skills in a new industry and in my time with Deutsche Bank I further progressed into a global support role for the IT & Operations Controllers team in New York. I returned to Tokyo in 2005 and joined Lehman Brothers where I was the Asia-Pacific Finance CAO [chief administrative officer] leading the overall organisation strategy for the regional CFO [chief financial officer] and delivering a viable offshoring programme.
After the Nomura acquisition of Lehman in 2008, I relocated to Hong Kong to lead the Management Information and Cost Management & Analytics team for the AEJ [Asia excluding Japan] region and this has been incredibly rewarding building the team and providing insightful analytics that drive business. I am currently transitioning into a new role leading our Office of Conduct and Culture for the region.
Providing analytics and information to enable our senior leaders and businesses to make timely decisions
Nomura Group is a Japanese global financial institution providing retail, asset management and wholesale banking. I have always been part of the Finance Department, providing analytics and information to enable our senior leaders and businesses to make timely decisions.
In addition to my role, I co-lead our Women in Nomura (WIN) network for the region and I enjoy expanding my contacts beyond my regular stakeholders both internally and externally. WIN is particularly active across the industry in drawing attention to gender inequality and we aim to connect, recognise and develop women to grow Nomura’s business. We engage all staff (men and women) and connect our members, thus providing an invaluable networking platform across all levels of the firm.
International Women’s Day debate about workplace equality
Since 2013 we have hosted this annual debate which is our signature event amongst a series of International Women’s Day [IWD] celebratory initiatives. We aim to build an intellectual platform to exchange perspectives and encourage conversations around gender-related issues.
Since its launch, our IWD debate series has attracted more than 300 employees and external guests. Given that the IWD 2016 global theme is “Pledge for Parity” – also taking into account that our internal global theme for this year’s events will have a big focus on women’s career development – we want to explore some of the challenges that women face in the workplace, and more importantly, how we can change the situation and where the solutions may lie.
We were inspired by quite a number of famous personalities who’ve been outspoken in this area, and were able to make some visible changes in the world – for example, Malala Yousfazai on her fight for education for all, Emma Watson on the #HeForShe campaign, and most recently Justin Trudeau on achieving gender parity in his parliament. We imagined that it will be interesting to see these different perspectives coming together in the form of a debate – stay tuned for the event!
We’ve always been trying to engage with the audience through asking for their opinions before / after the debate to see whether opinions have switched during the debate and whether people have been inspired by what’s been discussed. This year we’ll try to make it simple and use some simple technology to capture audience’s feedback in real-time.
Increasing gender diversity, supporting female talent and ensuring our infrastructure is fair
Diversity-related challenges could be very different according to locations. However, our top priority is around increasing gender diversity of our population, providing specific support for female talent in the firm and making sure we have a fair infrastructure such that bias against minority groups could be eliminated. These are our universal goals across all locations.
With regards to attracting, retaining and developing female talent in the firm, we have internal women’s programmes which are specifically designed for women leaders at different levels, aiming to provide them with the support, connection and training that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. We also have a very strong internal women’s network and I’m very proud to be regional co-lead for this. It’s a network formed and run by a team of more than 30 internal staff in different offices, actively putting together a wide-range of initiatives that support all women in our firm.
Advice for women working in a male dominated industry like finance
Over the years I’ve had great advice from a number of people. I’ve heard this one again and again: “Raise your hand – if you don’t, you may get overlooked”. You will miss 100% of the chances you didn’t take and I feel that it’s important to encourage our women to take opportunities when they can. It’s also important to highlight your interest in new opportunities as ideas are always coming to the fore.
On the horizon
There are lots of things on the horizon. I’m going to lead the AEJ [Asia excluding Japan] Office of Conduct and Culture, which is an area of great interest so I’m looking forward to developing our strategy and working with my global counterparts to put in place our culture programme.
WIN [Women in Nomura] is always active in March with our International Women’s Day initiatives and the WIN calendar is generally busy the whole year with speakers, connecting with our members and delivering new initiatives to further support our employees. In terms of our diversity agenda, gender will still be the top item.
We are committed to continue our efforts in developing, attracting and retaining women in the firm. Some interesting developments in Japan: the setup of a special taskforce in our headquarters to push for a change in the workplace, covering policy reviews and other relevant actions to help with the career development of women in our firm.