One of the stand out highlights of Bank of America’s Q1 results released earlier today is stellar performance in its FX business. Volatility is back and despite lukewarm figures emerging from BAML’s FICC business, FX had its best individual quarter since the financial crisis.
And with along with this peak in activity appears to be a renewed appetite to hire within its FX business at a senior level. Earlier this month, Bank of America hired Beat Nussbaumer, who left his role as managing director and head of FX spot at Commerzbank in March.
Nussbaumer joined BAML as a managing director in its FX business in April and such a senior hire suggests that more recruits could follow. He is a trading veteran with over 30 years’ trading experience, having started out as a spot trader at UBS in 1984.
He joins BAML’s FX trading desk after a shake-out in the global provide into wholesale forex trading practices that has seen a number of senior traders fired or suspended across a number of investment banks. In March last year, Joseph Landes, head of spot foreign-exchange trading in Europe at BAML, was suspended. BAML was one of six banks fined $4.3bn as part of the forex investigation, but its $200m levy was the smallest of any firm to be slapped on the wrist by the regulator.
Nussbaumer spend nearly four years at Goldman Sachs as a prop trader until February 2010, before joining Unicredit to head up its FX cash business. He signed up to Commerzbank in October 2012 as global head of its spot FX business.
Bank of America pointed to “post-merger record FX results due to increased market volatility” during the first quarter, without breaking out revenues for the division. Elsewhere, FICC sales and trading revenues dropped by $200m on Q1 2014, to $2.9bn, as credit and mortgages revenues slipped.
FICC still dominates BAML’s trading operations, with the $2.9bn revenues dwarfing the $1.2bn it made in equities. Credit and ‘other’ accounts for 65% of BAML’s FICC trading revenues, with macro products comprising the remaining 35%.