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Lunchtime Links: Senior FX options trader joins RBS from Goldman Sachs; as predicted, Asia is just turning out to be a huge cost centre; all the other stories you missed over Christmas

Back to work after Christmas

RBS has apparently appointed Lazard in an attempt to find a buyer for ‘chunks’ of its investment bank. If it finds one, it may not be pretty. Think Investec/Evolution, where we understand that around 40% of the combined staff are now being let go.

Nevertheless, even while it goes about touting its wares, someone has cast a vote in favour of RBS. That person is: Henry Drysdale a former executive director in FX options trading at Goldman, who’s joining RBS’s options unit in London.

FX week reported that Drysdale left Goldman in October following a headcount reduction announced in July. Drysdale’s decision to leave Goldman for RBS may therefore have been taken before the government commanded the bank to desist from many of its investment banking activities.  It may also not have been entirely voluntary.

Separately, and as we have suggested on several occasions, Asia is emerging as a very big drag on banks’ revenues and a very big contributor to their costs.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that banks are becoming attuned to this. ‘Senior bankers in Hong Kong, who are emerging from several weeks of tense budget meetings for 2012, say they are feeling pressure from their bosses to justify heavy investment across the region as trading volumes there and around the world shrink and banks struggle with tighter regulations,’ it claims.

The corollary is likely to be lower bonuses and higher job losses in Asia, especially in India and especially (says the Wall Street Journal), in, ‘banks that have been among the last to enter or expand their presence in the region.’

The (fuzzy) map below, highlighting the change in investment banking revenues in the region, goes some way to highlighting the issues.

Source: Thomson Reuters

RBS is turning back into County Natwest. (Breaking Views) 

VTB Capital has just hired a head of its Asian business and wants to expand in Asia. (Financial News) 

John Cryan’s joined Temasek in Europe, maybe you could too. (Bloomberg) 

This investment strategist at an investment bank is of Asian descent, the son of immigrants of modest means. (Guardian) 

Capula Investment Management, a London-based hedge fund that makes money by betting on the European sovereign debt markets, and wants to expand has paid its founder a £27m dividend. (Sunday Times)

Brevan Howard Asset Management paid its partners as much as £128.3m in the 12 months ending in March, a 79% year-on-year drop. (BusinessWeek) 

Peter Sands: The fact that more Chinese university students study here than anywhere else in the world is both a triumph of theUKuniversity system but also is a great way of laying a long-term platform for future business relationships. (Telegraph) 

Robert Wells, a former fixed income trader at Barclays Capital, has joined Getco Europe. (Financial News) 

“The reports of big losses are nonsense. There has been no abnormal trading in the commodities business,” said Barclays Capital spokeswoman Aurelie Leonard. She declined to elaborate. (Wall Street Journal) 

580 of Morgan Stanley’s 1,600 job cuts will come in New York. (Guardian) 

Hallmark has launched a range of eight greetings cards for the newly jobless. (The Times)

A banker’s wife speaks. (The Guardian)  

Occupy Protestors say they’ve been verbally and physically attacked by “well-dressed” people who apparently work in the City. (The Times) 

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