In March, Laurent Guyot was one of a trio of senior debt capital markets investment bankers to leave Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Guyot, who headed up the bank’s DCM financial institutions coverage for Benelux, France and Switzerland from London, was thought to be taking time out from banking. Instead, he’s emerged at the helm of a new technology firm.
Guyot is chief financial and revenues officer at Qwil Messenger, which describes itself as a “highly-secure multi-tenant instant messaging platform”. Guyot tells us that there are 10 people involved with the firm, and that Qwil is the name of a product within a larger fintech firm, which has yet to be unveiled.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch hired Guyot as a managing director and head of FIG DCM for Benelux, France and Switzerland from UBS in June 2014. Guyot spent eight years at UBS, where he was latterly a managing director and head of France & Benelux FIG DCM.
Guyot joins one of a growing number of firms competing in the instant messaging world, particularly in the banking sector after a traders colluded in chat rooms during various market-rigging scandals like Libor and FX fixing. There’s now a new band of chat room operators keen to prove that their systems are both secure, and able to detect signs of potential malpractice among users.
The big new beast in the chat room world is Symphony, which has the backing of a 15 major banks and is valued at over $1bn. Alternatively, Erkin Adylov, a former partner at hedge fund GLG Partners, started Behavox – a fintech firm that detects and analyses communication data, and is generating a lot of interest from banks.
Qwil is aimed at “professional firms and their clients” rather than financial services firms in particular.
The other MDs who left BAML with Guyot were Martin Mills, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) product solutions and Gianluca Savelli, BAML's head of debt capital markets and financial institutions corporate banking for Italy. Mills retired, while Savelli has yet to turn up elsewhere.
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