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Foreign exchange: Leighton calls it a day at StanChart

Richard Leighton, global head of FX at Standard Chartered, has decided to retire, bringing to an end one of the most successful careers in the industry over the past couple of decades.

Leighton started his career at Midland Bank in the mid-1980s working on the forward FX and specialized trading and research desks. From Midland he went to Chase (later JPMorgan Chase) and rose to become global head of options and commodities. He retired temporarily in 2002, only to return to the City in 2004 to run foreign exchange at StanChart. In 2009 Leighton was given the additional role of head of fixed income for Europe.

Under Leighton, StanChart’s performance has been steady rather than spectacular. In 2005 the bank was outside the top 20 banks in global FX market share; by last year had it climbed to 16th.

However, since Leighton joined StanChart the bank’s FX profitability has increased radically; the bank reported FX revenues in excess of $1 billion for the first time in 2007 and in 2008 FX comprised more than half of the bank’s financial markets division’s revenue of $2.365 billion. In 2009 financial markets’ profit rose 40% to $3.311 billion although the contribution from FX was not stated.

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