Jefferies Launching Futures Division

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Middle-market investment bank Jefferies is hoping it can leverage its rapid ascent in fixed income and commodities to gain a foothold in the futures business. The firm announced the launch of a futures division and named a 25-year veteran to lead it.

Regarded as a leading player in high-yield debt, Jefferies has stepped up its fixed income and commodities businesses in recent years. Now, the firm has set its sights on futures, which are expected to see changes in light of new rules.

Jefferies hired Patrice Blanc, formerly chief executive of Newedge Group, to head the division that will execute and clear trades of futures and options for listed financial and commodity markets. Blanc will join the firm next month.

With regulations impacting the swap markets taking shape, Jefferies sees an opportunity to seize business from top players Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, among others. Under the Dodd-Frank bill, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will regulate derivatives.

In Blanc, Jefferies adds a proven veteran to help establish the trading, execution and sales for customers. Previously, Blanc worked at Lehman Brothers in Paris, establishing a desk specializing in selling U.S. futures and options products to French corporations.

Many expect Jefferies will continue to build out a team in sales, execution and operations within the futures unit in the coming months.

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