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Smarter robots mean fewer humans for Nomura's Class of 2019

(Bloomberg) -- Nomura Holdings Inc.’s drive toward automation is taking a toll on the career prospects of graduates who want to work in Japan’s securities industry.

The nation’s biggest brokerage plans to hire 530 school-leavers in 2019, the fewest in five years, as it seeks to use robotics and artificial intelligence to cut costs, according to Kenji Yamashita, a Tokyo based-spokesman. At least 600 will join Nomura in April, and many of them will work in retail branches.

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Signage for Nomura Securities Co., a unit of Nomura Holdings Inc., is displayed outside a branch in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. A recovery in Nomura's businesses outside of Japan is continuing in the current quarter, Nomura Chief Executive Officer Koji Nagai said at an investor forum today. Photographer: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg

Nomura is planning to save about 60 billion yen ($560 million) over the next five years by using digital and cloud technology and reviewing office space, Chief Executive Officer Koji Nagai told investors in November. This week, the securities firm said it improved its robo-adviser product for individual investors, and announced a tie-up with mobile chat operator Line Corp. to provide online brokerage services.

Nomura is also refraining from increasing base salaries for graduates next fiscal year for the first time in five years, Bloomberg reported in February. That’s in contrast with rivals including SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. and Mizuho Securities Co., which have announced pay rises.