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Foreign Exchange

FX people moves: HSBC, BoA, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan, Vega EM, Standard Chartered

Update: People moves: HSBC loses FX big cheese 
March 03, 2009 You don’t get nuffing for nuffing

Welsh resigns from HSBC NY

As we reported in Euromoney on Tuesday, Ben Welsh has decided to leave HSBC NY, where he was head of FX, global metals and US rates. Ben, who joined HSBC in January 2003 from Goldman Sachs, told the weeklyFiX he has no immediate plans other than to take a break from the business.

“It’s a great bank with some great people. The team we built up in NY is fantastic, and I’m really going to miss those people,” he said. HSBC declined to comment on his departure nor on how the bank’s US trading operation would be reorganised.

Those who have worked with Welsh say that he had a healthy risk appetite. Whether or not this was a factor behind his decision is not known, but it seems inevitable that the bank will be examining its US operations following the debacle with its mortgage business. If it does reduce its risk appetite, it won’t be the first time the HSBC’s FX business – or, more accurately, its components – has been affected by bad judgement, as the Crocker debacle mentioned above shows.

Welsh’s departure has effectively removed a layer of the bank’s US management structure. As a result, Dan O’Sullivan and Dan Silber have become co-heads of FX, North America. O’Sullivan retains his present role as head of FX trading in North America and Silber remains head of FX sales. Both report to global head Andrew Brown.

Further down the food chain, Ed McGann has quit his role as a real money FX salesman. As yet, it has not been confirmed where he is off to, though market gossip suggests Credit Suisse. In London, the bank has lost Oliver Beane, a senior sales person in its bullion team, which these days is almost considered FX. Beane leaves after a 14-year stint with the bank. He is believed to be crossing Canary Wharf to Bear Stearns.

Bank of America loses 10, but gains three

The buzz has been building about what is going on at BoA. From the outside, it would appear that the bank is leaking staff. But according to Chris Mandell, the bank’s global head of FX, the attrition rate is actually slightly lower than in previous years. “It is not unusual to have turnover in the industry once bonuses get paid,” she says. “Globally 10 people have left, which is a very small percentage of our FX workforce, and three have joined. It’s the time of year when people make changes. The business is evolving and that doesn’t always suit everyone; and they make sometimes opportunistic moves as a result.”

Among those off to pastures new are Alain Delelis, its former head of FX for EMEA in London before his relocation to NY earlier this year; veteran options dealer John Arnone; Chris Weiss; and FX derivatives structurer and spot trader Neil Condie.

Before joining BoA in July 2004, Delelis did a brief a stint at Vega Asset Management. Coincidentally, Vega has lost a couple of its guys from its emerging markets team (see below). Delelis is rumoured to be going to Credit Suisse to head up the FX prop trading desk. Arnone is rejoining Calyon, where he will link up again with former boss Dave Hitchens, who left BoA in October.

Among those coming in are Kotaro Kunimochi, who started as a trader in Tokyo last month, and Angela Tan, who joined the Singapore sales team this week. It is understood the bank expects to make further appointments.

Wallace resurfaces at Credit Suisse

Gordon Wallace, once of Deutsche Bank and, more recently, Citadel – he left last November – has joined Credit Suisse, which seems to be on a bit of a hiring frenzy. He joined on March 6 as its new head of FX options. Wallace is based in London and reports to Gael de Boissard, head of European fixed income and head of global foreign exchange sales and trading (see below). Wallace replaces Craig Puffenburger.

DiGiorgio quits JPMorgan

Christian DiGiorgio has left JPMorgan, apparently by mutual consent. Sources say that after a supposed one-year stint in hedge fund sales in Toyko, which stretched on far longer than intended, DiGiorgio has found himself caught in a turf war between a couple of senior figures in London. Rumours say that this is, after a tentative truce, about to erupt again. If it does so by Good Friday, I’ll be able to wheel out lots of references to one of my all-time favourite films. At least he appears to have left with his dignity intact and not gone out on a raspberry ripple. By all accounts, he is extremely capable and will resurface in short order.

Vega duo off to Tudor

Mike Georgiou and Miguel Mayo are believed to be moving from Vega EM to Tudor Asset Management (along with their team). The duo is described by market sources as nice guys and as relative big fish in the hedge fund community. Vega EM’s parent, Vega Asset Management, had a torrid time in 2006 that resulted in a widespread withdrawal of funds by investors. Naturally, because the move is between hedge funds, which are ridiculously secretive – as if that makes a difference – no confirmation has come from either firm. A sell-side contact posed the following question: Just why would a manager move from one firm to another?

Chris Stewart leaves Standard Chartered

Chris Stewart, head of corporate sales, has resigned from Standard Chartered to spend more time with his family. He left on March 2 after just over two years at the bank. Sources in the bank say he will be much missed and wish him well.

....but it beefs up in e-commerce

Standard Chartered has appointed Stamos Fokianos as its global head of product development, global market e-commerce. Fokianos, who will be based in London, has around 16 years’ experience; previous roles include global product management (development and support) and API sales at Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as director of global product management at Citibank.

The bank has also hired Albert Maasland permanently; currently he is global head of business development, global markets e-commerce. Maasland, who will be based in London, has been acting as a consultant to the bank since the summer of 2006. He has held several senior management roles in the past, including global head of marketing for wholesale and investment banking at Deutsche Bank, head of business development, global markets at HSBC and head of FX sales at Chase Manhattan.