What do Japanese gardens tell us about financial markets?

We identify the 6 key themes between banking and horticulture.

While garden cultivation has been taken to extremes of beauty and obsession over the centuries, especially in Japan, for most it is simply a pleasant pastime. The business of investment banking and global markets, in contrast, is fixated on numbers, deals and getting the job done. In reality, the similarities between both horticulture and banking and markets are manifold. Here are six examples:


Achieving a beautiful garden requires accurate timing and careful sequencing; seeds have to be germinated at the right time, carefully planted and sensitively cared for before facing the challenges of the wider world. Timing is equally important in investment banking; when working with a client to prepare them for an M&A or bond sale, attention to detail is paramount. And execution of the transaction has to be meticulous if it is to achieve the desired result.


Even those with green fingers acknowledge that they would be nothing without their tools. In financial services, that means having a sustained approach to investment in technology and focusing on projects that deliver results for clients. The use of innovation to improve efficiency and enhance transparency for clients delivers the most effective solutions possible.


Gardeners understand the needs of their plants across the seasons and their interaction with weather patterns. Preparation is essential. Markets also move in cycles – pre-empting recurring patterns and spotting the triggers that herald likely future events can be the key to unlocking value for clients.


Most people can keep a plant pot alive but cultivating a Bonsai takes skill and precision. A good financial partner ensures that its clients are entrusted to teams of experts with years of knowledge and deep experience in their product or sector. The ideal approach to clients aligns with the Japanese approach to garden design: actions need to be considered carefully and implemented as simply and purely as possible with many pursuing life-long learning.

Long-Term Approach

Horticulture is about patience and forward thinking – legendary English gardener Capability Brown planted trees with an eye to the vistas in 50 years and Kew Gardens’ Head of Arboretum, Tony Kirkham, sees his role as a caretaker for trees with a legacy of hundreds of years. Nomura strives to nurture deep relationships with clients and help to fulfil their long-term strategic ambitions.


While the climate has a certain regularity, gardeners around the world are acutely aware of its unpredictability. There have always been surprises – wintry squalls in May, harsher winter conditions or scorching sun in October – but their severity and frequency are increasing. Institutional investors and corporates can be protected from unexpected volatility and quickly optimize their position with a partner that can weather market storms, is nimble and capable of managing risk.

No garden exists in isolation. Many of the most successful bring together techniques and plants from around the world to create a living art form in a volatile climate. With people drawn from around the globe and deep expertise in investment banking and global markets, Nomura acknowledges the benefits of connecting markets East and West.

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