Nomura Holdings Inc's U.S. brokerage unit said it has hired Ciaran O'Kelly from Bank of America Corp as a managing director and head of equities in the Americas.

The hiring by Nomura Securities International Inc is part of an aggressive push by its Japan-based parent to expand in North America, following its acquisition last year of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc's Asian, European and Middle Eastern units.

Based in New York, O'Kelly is responsible for liquid markets, derivatives and prime services at Nomura Securities International Inc. Nomura said he reports to Shigesuke Kashiwagi, the unit's chief executive, as well as to Rachid Bouzouba, head of equities at Nomura International Plc.

O'Kelly most recently worked as head of global equities at Bank of America from October 2007 to May 2009. He joined the bank in 2002 as head of equity trading, following 11 years at Citigroup Inc and predecessor firms. He obtained a bachelor's degree from Dublin City University in 1989.

Bank of America on Jan. 1 acquired Merrill Lynch & Co, and has since been integrating the companies' businesses. On Friday, the bank said it was ahead of schedule on achieving targeted cost savings from the merger.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Gary Hill and Maureen Bavdek)