NOMURA Asset Management has sacked five sales staff as part of a plan to shift its marketing focus away from retail investors. The fund management division will now direct most of its sales pitches towards high-net-worth individuals. The decision to cut the number of direct marketing staff followed the results of an in-house cost benefit study which showed marketing initiatives aimed at the top tier of wealthy investors would be more profitable. A spokesman for Nomura said the cutback was not linked to lower retail sales than those recorded elsewhere in Hong Kong's fund industry. 'This is nothing more than a move to reduce the emphasis on direct marketing,' said the spokesman. 'We have to be responsive to market conditions. This is not a long-term strategy.' With authorised funds under management in Hong Kong of about US$62.7 million ($458.3 million) last year, Nomura is one of the smaller fund managers in the territory. The company, which has eight authorised funds in Hong Kong, will now rely on a smaller sales team to promote its funds to retail investors.