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Morning Coffee: Europe's new most ambitious bank plots American expansion. Citi's executive COVID outbreak

The world may have turned on its head, but Europe's new most ambitious bank is still making upbeat utterances. It's hiring, and aspires to a "material expansion" everywhere, including America.

That bank is BNP Paribas, the French bank that some bankers are seemingly willing to take a pay cut to join. This is both because BNP doesn't pay as well as the American banks at the top end (or to seem to have much intention of remedying this its markets division in the short term), and because BNP is now one of the most thrusting European banks to work for. Having consolidated Exane and assimilated Deutsche Bank's old prime broking and electronic execution business, BNP's stated ambition is to be "the first European corporate and investment bank among global tier one players," and it's pursuing this systematically.

BNP is hiring markets professionals as part of the growth plan. Olivier Osty, the banks head of global markets, told IFRE that BNP is hiring across markets, with a particular focus on credit and U.S. investment-grade, high-yield and securitized products. It's also planning a 'substantial rise in headcount in research, distribution and execution' in its U.S. cash equities business, is investing in high touch and electronic trading, and aspires to increase its U.S. investment banking activity in healthcare and technology (although, doesn't everyone here?). BNP will be hiring technologists too: it already has more technologists in its markets division than sales, trading or structuring staff, and so will be hiring developers commensurate with its expansion. 

It's all part of a three-year plan. And Osty tells IFRE that people seem keen to work for BNP: the French bank has found it "much easier to attract good talent," he tells IFRE, even if people have also been quitting for the buy-side.

Separately, in a reminder that a brutal war and the upending of the existing geopolitical order doesn't preclude the continuation of a pandemic that's currently having deadly consequences in Hong Kong, Citi's executive team has been struck by COVID.  

The U.S. bank has an investor day tomorrow. It was going to be in-person, but has been moved online after Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason and Paco Ybarra, head of the bank’s institutional clients group, both tested positive for COVID-19....


HSBC and Barclays are each responsible for financed emissions equivalent to roughly 18% of the total carbon footprint of the U.K. (Bloomberg) 

38 year-old fixed income salesman in Ukraine: “Business is super stressed, what can I say?...Markets are doom-and-gloom. They’re destroyed.” (Financial News) 

 "I think there’s been a logical, methodical plan that goes back a very long way, at least to 2007 when he put the world, and certainly Europe, on notice that Moscow would not accept the further expansion of NATO." (Politico) 

China could provide a financial lifeline to Russia. The People’s Bank of China has a multi-billion dollar currency swap with Russia’s central bank, allowing the two nations to provide liquidity to businesses so they can continue trading. (Bloomberg) 

Lincoln International hired three FIG bankers, two in London and one in New York. (Financial News) 

Hedge fund ExodusPoint is building out its macro team and hired George Saghir from Graham Capital. Saghir managed $1bn for Graham. 

Barclays has been fined for failing to properly vet Premier FX, a currency services provider. Among other things, Barclays simply accepted cut-and-paste reports from Premier FX for its anti-money laundering reviews. (Bloomberg) 

Henry Kravis and George Roberts at KKR both earned more than $100m last year. (Financial Times) 

The Ukranian ex-McKinsey consultant, banking board member and fintech investor now managing the logistics of humanitarian aid. (Bloomberg) 

Ukranian women are finding Russian men appearing on Tinder. (Sun) 

“We are now wondering whether the state is going to forcefully convert dollar savings into roubles to take the citizens’ dollars because they are being cut off from the outside. That is a reality we see on the horizon”...The feelings are mixed, we are completely unprepared. This is a total mess, and it is very scary in all senses, not only that the economy collapses and we will live off [food] allowance cards as our parents and grandparents [did]." (Financial Times) 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Pa
    Paul Reynolds
    1 March 2022

    Thrusting (and then pulling out). It's all quite sexual really. But is banking a truly sexy business?

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