If you’re a trader who likes to take “proprietary risk”, banks have not been your friends. When the Volcker Rule was devised in 2010, banks like J.P. Morgan preemptively closed all the proprietary trading desks that were making bets with their own money and switched to trading on behalf of customers only. Spurred by the EU, the French government introduced a similar rule in late 2015, prompting BNP Paribas and SocGen to carve out their prop trading businesses as separate entities. Now, however, we understand that some banks are quietly setting up prop desks again.
Macquarie appears to be among them. The Australian investment bank just hired Antoine Ged, a former BNP Paribas government bond trader. Ged spent the past eight months travelling after leaving BNP Paribas in May 2016. He’s joined Macquarie to set up a U.S. and European government bonds and futures arbitrage desk. Ged says the desk will be, “taking proprietary positions in government bonds and fixed income futures with a focus on Germany, US and France.” The implication is that he will be hiring.
Macquarie didn’t respond to a request to comment on Ged’s arrival. Headhunters say Macquarie isn’t alone in making a return to prop trading though: Nomura is also rumoured to be rebuilding its London prop desk.
While U.S. and European banks are constricted by rules limiting risk-taking to market making for clients, “international banks” in London are freer to do what they want. If you aspire to be a prop trader in London and you don’t want to work for a hedge fund, Japanese and Australian banks are worth looking into.