Two French Banks May Merge U.S. Futures Businesses

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Credit Agricole and Societe Generale may merge their U.S.-based futures businesses, Bloomberg reports. If the banks form a joint venture, it would be the third-largest futures brokerage when measured by customer funds, compared to their sixth- and eighth-place rankings today.

Credit Agricole's Calyon Financial and Societe Generale's Fimat USA both trade interest-rate, metals and energy commodity futures and options. They operate in New York, London and Chicago, the news service said. Calyon Financial has about 400 employees, while Fimat has more than 700.

Robin Down, an analyst at HSBC Holdings, told Bloomberg the larger size of the joint venture could make it easier to attract customers and hold down costs. "There is so much investment required in these businesses you have to be as big as possible,'' he said.

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