Bank of America’s EMEA equity derivatives business is getting some love

Bank of America’s EMEA equity derivatives business is getting some love

Bank of America may cut a few executives and contain costs by not being able to replace people who leave, but it’s also hiring. Last year it hired 15,000 people, including European fixed income sales, where it has doubled the size of its foreign exchange and commodities sales team working with corporate clients in the two years to mid-2023 and hired 50% more people in EMEA sales and trading. . .

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In 2024, it looks like BofA may continue. Now it’s all about stocks.

Speaking to the International Financing Review, Jim De Mare, the nice but competitive man who developed BofA’s markets business, said the bank was earlier in its equity investments than its fixed-income investments and that there was room for growth in EMEA equity derivatives trading. structured notes.

BofA has already made several large stock leases. In September 2023, Nick Laux joined from Morgan Stanley as international head of equity trading. Matt Watson, Vincent Charvin and Maxime Ménard joined simultaneously from Citi, Goldman Sachs and SocGen as global head of structured issuance, head of delta one sales for EMEA and head of Emea X-Asset third party distribution sales. Laux’s arrival appears to be a particularly lopsided move: Insiders say he was not a dedicated head of international equity trading before joining BofA, and the business was effectively run by Philippe Trouve out of Paris.

However, last year also saw a variety of exits: Sasha Diklich, the bank’s head of micro-derivatives trading in London, left in August after 10 years with Rafael Oskoui; various other senior executives also left the EMEA equities business in May.

While Jim De Mare runs Bank of America’s markets business as a whole, the equities business is run by Soofian Zuber, who took over from the not-so-famous Fab Gallo in 2021. Some at the bank blame Gallo for the Bank’s comparative weakness in derivatives. trade: “They made a strategic mistake in the mid-2010s by emphasizing inflows over exotics,” said one insider. “But the exotics are where the margin is.”

Others blame years of losses in BofA’s EMEA equity derivatives trading business. For example, in 2018 the bank faced a number of exits, including Whitfield Hines (head of EMEA equity derivatives sales), Guillaume Arnaud (head of EMEA solutions sales and structuring) and Roy Martins (head of global equity swaps distribution). ), Alexandre Fleury, global head of exotic trading and Florent Sabot, head of exotic equity trading for EMEA and Asia. Andrew Mitchell, former head of EMEA equity trading, left for Jefferies in June 2020. French banks are “miles ahead,” notes one former MD.

While BofA’s equity derivatives presence in EMEA is lagging, senior executives in BofA’s European equities team say the bank is well positioned in other areas. Martina Slowey, head of EMEA equities, for example, is known for building a strong prime broking presence. “The space there is not space like in the exotics,” says one.

If BofA is to succeed in exotics, former MDs suggest it will need to both hire new staff and upgrade its technology. “Competition is fierce,” says one. “Technology in particular is lagging behind.”

Bank of America declined to comment.

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