Mizuho Seeks Flight Attendants, TV Producers for MiFID Era

(Bloomberg) -- Flight attendants and television producers seeking a career change might want to look up Japan’s third-biggest bank.

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. wants the hospitality and media veterans to woo investors and company executives with their strong communication and social skills, said Yuki Maeda, head of corporate access across Asia. It will recruit three people by March who will put institutional clients in touch with Japanese business leaders through conference calls and face-to-face meetings, she said.

The move is part of Mizuho’s efforts to bolster its corporate access services after it began billing for them following the introduction of new European rules known as MiFID II. The regulations, which require securities firms to separate those charges from equity research and trading, have put an onus on banks to beef up their matchmaker role for fund managers that want to meet with company executives to get information on their strategies.

Corporate Access Under MiFID II

While bankers and analysts already have connections with top executives at Japanese firms, the corporate access staff are responsible for organizing events and meetings that bring them together with investors.

“Cabin attendants have good hospitality and English skills,” Maeda said. “We want multitaskers who can convince top company executives, government officials and university professors to meet with global investors or speak at conferences.”

Figures from Mizuho suggest that clients are willing to pay for such access, at a time when investor interest in the Japanese market remains relatively high. Requests for meetings with Japanese company executives increased 12 percent in the year ended Sept. 30.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average reached a 27-year high earlier this month before the global sell-off. It dropped 1.8 percent as of 12:45 p.m. in Tokyo on Monday.

Still, because MiFID II -- short for the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive -- is making it clearer to institutional investors how much they’re paying for events, some are asking themselves whether it’s always justified, according to Maeda. Only 450 foreigners attended Mizuho’s annual investor forum in Tokyo last month, down 20 percent from a year earlier, partly due to the regulations introduced in January, she said.

“We can say for sure that their travel budgets have tightened,” Maeda said.

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