Longtime Société Générale equities trader pops up at Scotiabank

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A Société Générale lifer who exited the French bank last year has found a new home at Scotiabank in New York. Benjamin Messas, the former head of exotic equity trading in the Americas at Société Générale, started at Scotiabank as a director within their equity derivatives team earlier this month.

Messas and Olivier Blaise, SocGen’s former head of volatility trading stocks and ETFs, left the bank in May after spending their entire career with the French firm. Their departures came just days after Société Générale said that it would buy Commerzbank's equity markets and commodities business, though it was unclear whether the exits were related to the deal. Blaise has yet to reemerge at a new firm, according to Finra records.

Equity derivatives traders have been riding a bit of a rollercoaster over the last two years. They suffered through a miserable 2017 where revenues shrank dramatically, particularly in the U.S., as market volatility waned. Firms like Goldman Sachs partially retreated from the business at the time. However, last year proved to be a different story as choppy markets set equity derivatives traders up for some of the biggest paydays on Wall Street, according to Options Group.

Citi is said to be one of the more active players in equity derivatives as of late. It’s said to be expanding its CETS (Citi Equity Trading Strategy) team, punctuated by the recent hiring of one of New York City's top equity derivatives traders, Jason Cuttler, who came over from J.P. Morgan after 15 years at Goldman Sachs. Credit Suisse also overhauled its equity derivatives unit last year. Elsewhere, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and BNP Paribas are said to be building up their equity derivatives businesses in Europe. The merry-go-round continues with Scotiabank’s hiring of Messas.

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