Maxime Kahn, one of the top equity traders at SocGen has left the French bank after twenty years. His destination is unclear, but we strongly suspect he’s joining a hedge fund.
Paris-based Kahn was most recently head of global equity flow trading for SocGen. Prior to that, he was head of global prop trading for the French bank and head of prop trading in Europe. Kahn joined SocGen in 1996 and had worked there since. As a measure of Kahn’s trading prowess, he was the man SocGen turned to when it needed someone to unwind Jerome Kerviel’s $70bn of bets in 2008. To disguise the gravity of the situation, Kahn was told he was unwinding confidential trades for a client.
Unlike U.S. banks, European banks are not constrained by the Volcker Rule, which bans banks from proprietary trading – or making bets with their own money. However, French government introduced a rule compelling BNP Paribas and SocGen to wall off their prop trading arms by the end of last year. BNP Paribas spun out its proprietary trading business as Opera Trading Capital and SocGen reportedly carved out a separate prop trading subsidiary in 2014.
While other proprietary traders quit immediately for hedge funds, Kahn, who was made head of equity flow trading in 2013, stuck around. SocGen’s strength in equities lies in derivatives: it ranked first globally for futures and options in and second for equity derivatives in the first half of 2016 according to Coalition. By comparison, its cash equities business ranked 12th behind Citi according to Markit.
Kahn’s public profile says he’s on gardening leave until February 2017. Thereafter, we suspect he’ll return to his vocation of equity prop trading with a hedge fund. Several hedge funds are hiring.