An unlikely refuge for senior traders and bankers

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When it comes to investment banking, Standard Chartered hasn’t always been viewed as the most attractive place to work – it reportedly pays less than larger firms, rarely makes it into the top ranks of the global league tables and has an emerging markets focus.

And yet, like Lloyds Banking Group, it’s emerging as an unexpectedly active hirer of investment bankers and sales staff recently, and has poached some senior employees from rivals.

Most notably, Gareth Braithwaite, the former managing director within Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s insurance and investment banking advisory practice, has signed up to Standard Chartered in the newly-created position of head of its European banks and insurance business.

Braithwaite is a heavy-hitter in the FIG sector, having previously been global head of Royal Bank of Scotland’s insurance business and head of insurance origination at Barclays.

Meanwhile, it’s also taken advantage of the exodus of senior investment banking talent from RBS to bolster its FX business. Paul Hardingham, Jeff Turner and Matthew Jolly have all left RBS’s real-money sales team to join Standard Chartered this month, according to the Financial Conduct Authority register.

It looks as though Mark Webster, the former head of EMEA FX sales at RBS who left for the role of global head of FX sales at Standard Chartered in July last year, has been looking to his former employer as he bolsters his team.

RBS has also been losing senior FX sales and trading employees to other rivals, with Jonathan Harding, former managing director in FX sales at RBS, resurfacing at Nomura at the end of last year.

Despite this, RBS’s FX business performed much better than last year during the first quarter of 2014. However, it posted poor performance in 2013, so the results were flattered by a poor comparator.

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