Japanese brokerage Nomura said on Friday it had hired two senior staff to co-head its fixed income business in the Americas as part of a push to expand its investment bank outside Asia.

The U.S. unit of Nomura Holdings Inc said Charles Spero, previously at Barclays, and Jeffery Michaels, from Citigroup Inc, have joined its New York office as co-heads.

They will report to Tarun Jotwani, global head of fixed income, and Shigesuke Kashiwagi, chief executive of Nomura in the Americas.

Both Spero and Michaels also worked at failed U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers. Michaels became head of U.S. rates trading in 2006 and Spero was most recently head of securitized products for the Americas.

Nomura acquired the Asian and European units of Lehman last year. It has hired former Lehman bankers in the United States as it looks to take advantage of the acquisition and build a global investment bank.

The brokerage's most recent push has been to expand its fixed income business. In July the New York Federal Reserve Bank named Nomura a U.S. primary dealer of Treasury securities.

Since January, Nomura has hired a total of 28 managing directors in fixed income across businesses including mortgage backed securities, interest rates, credit and fixed income research, according to a company spokesman.

The U.S. unit now has about 180 fixed income staff, up from about 60 before the Lehman acquisition, and the number will likely rise to about 210 shortly, Spero and Michaels said in an interview.

Nomura expects to employ about 1,200 people in the United States by the end of March 2010, up from about 700 two years ago, a spokesman said.

The brokerage has struggled to retain some top Lehman staff since the acquisition, particularly in Asia. It lost about $7 billion in the past business year, hurt by costs to retain staff and integrate the Lehman operations.

But it posted a profit for the quarter ended in June, its first profit in a year and a half.

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; editing by John Wallace)