Long regarded as the Wild West of trading, foreign exchange is proving that the world of risk and uncertainty is also one of opportunity for job seekers. At least right now. The biggest banks and other big firms are duking it out for top talent amid volatility in major global currencies and easing regulations that have shifted scrutiny to derivatives and corporate bonds.
Deutsche Bank, the world’s biggest currency trader, last month hired Gaurang Chadha from Goldman Sachs as a managing director on its North American forex investor sales. Chadha co-headed FX hedge fund sales for the Americas at Goldman, where he spent five years. He previously worked at Citigroup and ABN Amro Bank.
Macroeconomic factors such as a growing interest in Japan and the strong dollar have been fueling the most recent hires.
The doors have been revolving for months among rivals. In March, Goldman Sachs reportedly poached Singapore-based institutional FX sales director Catherine Rich from Deutsche Bank. Rich, who had been on gardening leave, moves to Goldman's Sydney office as an executive director to focus on fund managers.
Euromoney Foreign Exchange survey results announced in May ranked Deutsche Bank, with 15.64% of the $4 trillion-a-day currency market, No. 1 for the ninth straight year, with Citi running a close second. Deutsche has been steadily shedding its share, which has tumbled from 18.07% last year and whittled from a record high of 21.7% in 2008. The race has never been so tight, with Barclays in third place, followed by UBS, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, RBS, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.
Andrew Rosoman this week took charge of foreign exchange prime-brokerage sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at UBS, joining from Credit Suisse. Based in London, he reports to Helen Lofthouse, managing director within prime services, after spending 11 years at Credit Suisse.
Also this week, Chris Eagle joined Jefferies in London to head institutional FX sales in Europe. He comes from Marex Spectron, where he was global head of FX since January 2012, after working for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, UniCredit, Royal Bank of Scotland and Morgan Stanley.
There have been many major moves in recent weeks. Chris Hewitt is returning to Morgan Stanley in real-money sales, after nearly four years Deutsche Bank, where he served as a director in FX real-money sales at Deutsche Bank. Based in London, Hewitt will report to Ilia Mallioras, head of FX real-money sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and will oversee the European real-money business. He’s also worked at J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse.
Also last month, Marex Financial Limited assembled an FX team of senior vice-presidents for London FX sales, taking Peter Snasdell from CIBC, along with Keith Mash and Paul Spillman from Newedge.
There has been a plethora of poaching since last year.
Bank of America hired Jim Coulton and Babak Eftekhari from Goldman Sachs for senior forex trading roles. J.P.Morgan plucked Ron Karpovich from Royal Bank of Scotland Group to grow software for payments by corporations in foreign currencies. Morgan Stanley took Giovanni Pillitteri from Citigroup as head of FX electronic trading.
Despite all the prospects, there are some drawbacks for job seekers. FX brokers generally earn far less than a penny on every dollar’s worth traded, and the fierce competition has forced banks to slash prices in the war for market share.
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