Since January, Bank of America (BofA) has been undergoing a build-up of its global FX sales, research and trading groups, reports Chris Mandell, global head of FX sales. One of the reasons for the more aggressive hiring profile, says Mandell, is the relaunch of its e-dealing product, FXO2, which has enabled the bank to shift many of its research and advisory services online.
BofA had several products on an online dealing service for some time, but last year the bank took them offline to spend time improving the system. The latest version, which is being rolled out now, includes “some straight-through processing synergies” and can handle “more aggressive volumes”, says Mandell.
“In terms of e-commerce, there have been two main focuses for us – getting the technology right and moving our services online,” she says. “Our view of the future acknowledges that a portion of the market is becoming commoditised as it moves online. This changes the way we reach our clients in terms of advisory services such as flow data and analysis, so a layer within the trading room has consequently been redeployed into new areas.”
“Our take on the move to e-commerce is not about eliminating jobs, it’s about shifting existing expertise and creating new positions to create high level advisory and forward looking technology teams,” she adds.
“Our front office staff have a good knowledge about how our clients have traditionally interacted with the bank. So it’s about understanding different types of behaviour so we can map our product to how our different customers like to deal,” Mandell says.
The bank’s overall e-commerce business is overseen by Jim Dixon in Charlotte, North Carolina, while Steve Godfrey oversees the Global Markets client technology group from San Francisco. The e-dealing product for foreign exchange is managed by Charlotte-based Bruce Williams, who is working with London-based John Murray on the rollout of client offered solutions.
The bank recently hired Gabrielle De Marco for the Global Markets customer technologies team based in San Francisco. He was previously with a dot.com company, and will play an active role in the rollout of “phase two” of the e-dealing product, says Mandell.
Irene Lim, BofA’s head of options sales for Asia, was recently appointed head of e-commerce for the global markets group in the region, based in Hong Kong.
The bank has recently launched several new trading-related businesses. It has launched an FX prime brokerage business under Umran Zia, who joined the bank in New York from ABN Amro with two colleagues, Tony Dalton and John Mierzehewski. An additional four traders were shifted onto the desk from other areas within BofA.
A global proprietary trading team was set up in March under Mark Brown, who joined from HSBC in New York. He is due to transfer to London later this year. The most recent addition to the desk is Robert Rigg, who joined from CSFB.
Meanwhile, James Ludlum has joined the San Francisco trading team from UBS to trade exotics, while in London, the desk has added four spot traders: Andy White, Glenn Campbell, John Murray and Mike Portlock.
In addition to the trading side expansion, Mandell says the bank has bolstered its value added sales function with the hire of Marcus Lee, who rounds out the global research team, overseeing global risk analysis in Asia. Lee joined from Nikko in Tokyo, and was previously with the former Swiss Bank Corp. Jennifer Green also joined the team from JP Morgan. She will focus on areas such as tax and accounting based standards, primarily FASB 133.
Meanwhile, Wendy Rosen joins the New York sales desk, covering corporates and money managers. She was previously with HSBC in New York. Gavin Coman joins the institutional sales desk from Chase Manhattan in New York. Additionally, Stephen Clear has joined the San Francisco office from Citibank in Chicago, to cover corporates and money managers. In London, Andrea Mohr recently joined to sell to corporates in Germany.