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Nomura CEO says U.S. becomes profit driver despite one-off losses

TOKYO (Reuters) - Nomura Holdings Inc's U.S. wholesale business has emerged as a profit driver despite some large one-off losses in the region that had dragged down the bank's earnings in the past, Chief Executive Officer Kentaro Okuda said.

"The basic earnings power and cost structure of our overseas wholesale business have improved, resulting in a stable trend of profits since 2017, and the United States has driven that," Okuda said, speaking at an annual event for investors.

Nomura's wholesale division consists of the global markets and investment banking arms.

Japan's biggest brokerage and investment bank has had a long troubled history in its attempts to expand overseas, including the acquisition of assets from the collapsed Lehman Brothers in 2008 which it later wrote down.

The bank last year booked a $2.9 billion hit from the collapse of U.S. investment fund Archegos and a $345 million charge from U.S. mortgage-backed loans issued more than a decade ago.

Okuda said the wholesale business overhaul in 2019, which included cost cuts and scaling back of lower growth segments, has helped turn the business leaner.

To help the business become more resilient to market swings, Nomura plans to boost equity, private markets products as well as advisory and wealth management businesses, he said.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)