Bob Savage has joined BNY Mellon as head of FX sales for the Americas.
Based in New York, he will report into Harry Moumdjian, global head of FX sales at the bank.
“My focus in this role will be on expanding upon a good, solid base to provide more empathy, client focus and add a little bit of experience to what I’d say is a world-class team,” Savage tells Profit & Loss.
In particular, he says that the FX sales effort at BNY Mellon will focus on corporate and real money clients.
“The FX market has changed a tremendous amount over the last twenty years. It used to be that leverage hedge funds were everything, but over the last ten years we’ve seen the rise of corporates and real money. I cut my teeth in the institutional sales coverage business and the big money managers already know BNY Mellon, so there’s a logical base here that is waiting to be reinvigorated with the knowledge that this is an old bank with a new team,” comments Savage.
He is also quick to push back on the suggestion that part of the challenge for custodial banks is that, although they have strong customer franchises and relationships, many of these customers still choose to execute their FX transactions with other banks.
“That’s yesterday’s story,” says Savage. “Today’s story is that, thanks to the electronification and commoditisation of this market, FX is a flatter playing field where pipes and trust all matter. And I think that BNY Mellon is situated well in this regard.”
He adds: “One thing that I don’t think people recognise as much as they should is that BNY Mellon is not just an agency desk, the truth is that the people here are taking on risk on behalf of clients to facilitate the liquidity that clients need..”
In addition, Savage highlights that BNY Mellon is one of the oldest and largest banks in the world, something that he claims can only be achieved by being open to change.
“I view the story of BNY Mellon in FX as being willing to embrace change wherever it is, to take whatever platform clients need to deal on and deal with them on it,” he says.
Before joining BNY Mellon, Savage was a partner and the CEO of Track Research, whose assets are in the process of being sold. He was also the CEO of CCTrack Solutions, a fund that was established following investment from Citic Capital Holdings in 2014 and sought to provide FX overlay, risk parity and alpha generation from trading across FX, commodity, bonds, equities and futures. The fund was closed last year and is in the very final stages of unwinding.
Prior to these ventures, Savage was the COO at FX Concepts before its demise in 2013, having joined the hedge fund the previous year.
Savage’s earlier career was spent on the sell side, having spent 23 years at Goldman Sachs where he was managing director of FX macro sales. In addition to this he worked as the head of New York FX trading for Lehman Brothers and the director of proprietary trading at Bank of America Securities.
Savage says that his recent experiences on the buy side are likely to help him in his new role, commenting: “I think it’s important to have a client perspective and having been a client of BNY Mellon and having watched the evolution of banking coverage, I think it gives me a more finely honed view of what clients want and deserve.”
Savage is the latest in a significant number of senior FX hires at BNY Mellon in the past few years. And Moumdjian, who only joined the bank himself last year, says that there will be further hires to come.
“Like all of our competitors, we’re active in the talent market. We do have job reqs that are open globally and we’re looking at people to fill those reqs. But just in the Americas since I’ve joined we’ve hired Hunter Lloyd, who’s an exceptionally talented young salesperson and now Bob, which I think demonstrates further that what we’re doing is taking the foundation of clients that we have and improving the assets we have around them on the sales force. Having someone like Bob, who has exceptional experience and credibility in the industry, on our team says a lot about where we are today as a business and where we’re going,” he says.