Nomura Holdings plans to hire about 20 investment bankers in the United States and Asia to bolster its merger and acquisition advisory business after cutting equities jobs in Hong Kong. Japan's biggest brokerage would recruit senior bankers in the US to cover industries including hotels, real estate, gaming, financial sponsorship, health care and chemicals, global head of investment banking Kentaro Okuda said. It would also increase coverage in China, Australia, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. Nomura is seeking to work on more global takeovers involving Japanese companies and reclaim its status as the country's top M&A adviser - a position it has not held since 2011. The hiring plans mark the latest stage of an on-off expansion overseas that has failed to generate sustained profit growth outside Japan. "I'm telling our teams in the Americas to come to Japan and show their faces and ideas to clients," Okuda said. "Some people still have the impression that Nomura doesn't have a presence there" because it missed out on buying Lehman Brothers' US operations during the global financial crisis in 2008, he said. Okuda said the recruits would be managing directors and executive directors. That is the same level of seniority as 15 bankers Nomura said in October last year that it hired to expand investment banking in the Americas. The hiring plans also contrast with retrenchments by other global banks amid slowing economic growth, rising legal costs and stricter regulations. Nomura has expanded in the US in the past. It embarked on a hiring spree after losing out to Barclays on buying Lehman's US operations, boosting staff in the Americas to 2,500 in 2011 from about 1,000 in 2009. It is also seeking to help state-owned enterprises in China and companies in Australia, India, Indonesia and the Philippines raise funds and make acquisitions. US firms were involved in more than half of last year's US$3.4 trillion in takeovers globally, data shows. Nomura was ranked 33rd among M&A advisers in North America, up from 56th in 2013. In Japan, it was ranked fourth, handling US$17.9 billion worth of deals. "It's a fact that we're not in the No1 spot," said Okuda. "We need to seize it back."