On behalf of the team

On 21 May 2021 Nomura Holdings, Inc. announced that it was considering appealing the fine (EUR 130 million) that had been imposed by the European Commission on its UK subsidiary, Nomura International, for its participation in a European Government Bond (‘EGB’) cartel. In a company statement, Nomura announced that it would consider all options after thoroughly examining the content of the Decision.

The fine stems from a European Commission decision in which seven investment banks were fined for having breached EU antitrust rules through the participation of a group of traders in a cartel in the primary and secondary market for EGBs.[1] According to the European Commission, the infringement by Nomura International in respect of anti-competitive conduct in the European Economic Area took place for a period of approximately 10 months in 2011.

The violation was a result of “certain historical behaviour” of two of Nomura International’s former employees. The European Commission stated that the traders of the seven companies operated in a closed circle of trust. These traders were in regular contact with each other mainly in multilateral chat rooms, where the relevant traders exchanged commercially sensitive information. They informed and updated each other on their prices and volumes offered in the run-up to the auctions and the prices shown to their customers or to the market in general. They discussed and provided each other with recurring updates on their bidding strategy in the run-up to the auctions of the Eurozone Member States when issuing Euro-denominated bonds on the primary market, and on trading parameters on the secondary market.

[1] According to Mlex, Antitrust: Commission fines investment banks € 371 million for participating in a European Governments Bonds trading cartel, 20 May 2021.