(Bloomberg) -- Nomura Holdings Inc. is building a team to help firms tap opportunities in the metaverse, as Japan’s biggest brokerage pushes deeper into digital services and private markets to boost profit. 

The Tokyo-based firm is considering using its investment banking knowledge to help companies in the virtual space raise money and advise on how to navigate regulations as they emerge, according to senior managing director Kaoru Numata, who oversees digital projects and retail marketing. Details of Nomura’s plans for the virtual reality market are still being worked out, he said. 

Nomura may be able to make money through creating securities out of digital assets, such as shoes, and other non-fungible tokens, according to Numata. “You will need financial services where economic activity in the real world merges itself with anything of value created in the metaverse,” he said, acknowledging that it’s difficult to identify a “sure way” to generate revenue from the metaverse. 

Nomura’s plans for the metaverse are part of a wider digital push, which Chief Executive Officer Kentaro Okuda has called a “critical part” of the brokerage’s expansion into private markets to bolster profit. The firm has been gradually diversifying away from stock broking for retail clients and other market-dependent business toward services that generate more stable fees.

The brokerage’s so-called Digital Company that was set up in April may recruit “a few dozen” partly to boost its research and development of metaverse and other blockchain-driven services, Numata said, declining to say how big the team is currently. 

Separately, the firm will later this year launch a subsidiary within the Digital Company to help institutional clients access products and services related to cryptocurrencies, stable coins and non-fungible tokens. It also recently started offering Bitcoin derivatives to clients in Asia after institutional demand for cryptocurrency products “significantly” increased in the past two years. 

Nomura joins rival Wall Street giants in exploring opportunities in the virtual reality market that could reach $600 billion by the end of the decade, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. 

HSBC Holdings Plc in March said it would buy a site in The Sandbox metaverse to engage with sporting and gaming enthusiasts. JPMorgan Chase & Co. has a lounge in Decentraland where users are greeted by a digital portrait of CEO Jamie Dimon, the same world where Fidelity Investments launched a tutorial place for retail investors. 

Financial firms are pushing ahead with digital plans despite a recent meltdown in cryptocurrencies after the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin triggered a flight from many popular tokens. Such assets are also under pressure after the Federal Reserve and other central banks raised interest rates to fight inflation, creating an unfavorable environment for riskier investments. 

“We are certain that there will be business opportunities” in the metaverse, Numata said. “The market for digital finance is growing quite strongly.” 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.