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FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Fickle fame in Singapore

I hope the bank enjoys its spot in the limelight, because fame is transient.

I have been avidly following the Tour de France this week. The combination of cycling and FX – Saxo Bank’s Fabian Cancellara took the yellow jersey in the first stage – has had me enthralled.


I hope the bank enjoys its spot in the limelight, because fame is transient. Even if we think we’re important, most of us, it seems, are very easily forgotten. As a lyric from one of my favourite songs puts it: “No one will know my name until it’s on a stone.”


Not surprisingly, given the speed with which it operates, fame is even more fleeting in FX. As many people find, once you leave your place of work, it’s as if you were never there. For instance, Tom Gillie left his job at Credit Suisse Singapore just over a week ago, held leaving drinks this Tuesday, but when I called to ask the bank if it would confirm his departure, I was told: “Odd. My colleagues in Asia do not recognise Tom’s name.”


And indeed, it is odd. Gillie is a modest man, but he was no simple jub. In fact, he was a bit of a face, having risen to the role of head of FX options trading and structuring for Credit Suisse in Asia. He was also on its regional operational committee for fixed income, as well as having a stint running the banks options sales in Asia through 2008. In fact, he worked at Credit Suisse for 13 years. I’m amazed that Credit Suisse can’t remember him.


I don’t know why he left, but perhaps he got fed up of having to show his pass to all the people who didn’t know who he was. I hear that he is heading back to Canada, which he apparently left when he couldn’t get a job as a fireman because he was too short. So he decided to become a successful FX trader instead. Apparently they still hand out gold watches for long-term service in the fire brigade, so I bet he’s upset he didn’t put manure in his boots when he was a lad and earn himself something solid for all those years.


UPDATE: Fickle fame, global game – is Gillie off to BoA?

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