Global Changes at the Right Pace
How do you create a successful top-tier international investment bank? That's the multibillion dollar question George Handjinicolaou and his new colleagues at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson are asking themselves these days. The former head of North American fixed-income derivatives at UBS left recently to become executive vice president and head of global markets for the Americas at Dresdner, leading the bank's capital markets activities in everything from derivatives and commodities to emerging markets and private placements.
Before embarking on its expansion plans, Dresdner did a bit of soul searching, says Hanjinicolaou. Although it considered itself one of the stronger banks in Europe, it didn't want to be perceived as a niche player. “If you're going to be in the top five in Europe, you need a major presence in Asia and the Americas,” he explains. “It's the other two legs of the stool.”
To fuel its efforts, the firm named former UBS managing director T.J. Lim as one of its three coheads of global markets (with Heinrich Linz and Erich Pohl). The bank also recently hired three other senior UBS alumni: Kevin Krespi, as global head of derivatives distribution; Glenn Barnes, as global head of structured products; and Mike Clancy, as head of credit products.
Dresdner, of course, isn't the first bank with international aspirations. “Other have tried to create an investment bank from scratch in a short period of time, but tried to make too many wholesale changes too quickly, and the cultural obstacles proved too difficult to overcome,” Hanjinicolaou says. “We aim to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.”
The trick, he says, is to work from Dresdner's two critical strengths—its strong credit rating and its strong presence in Germany and other European corporate markets. “If you move too fast,” he adds, “you run into the cultural problem. If you move too slow, you'll be ineffective.”
John Succo Starts Over
Earlier this year, John Succo, former managing director at Lehman Brothers, made the mistake of stating the obvious. At a Wall Street conference he told the audience, “I don't think that the people running our firm have any idea of the things that we actually do.” He was fired soon afterward, once his bosses listened to a tape recording of the session.
The experience may be a blessing in disguise. Last month, Succo announced he was starting a hedge fund, replicating some of the volatility trading he did at Lehman's proprietary trading desk.
Succo's Dispersion Fund is sponsored by Bermuda's Alpha Fund Management, which manages more than $1 billion in hedge fund assets. The volatility arbitrage Succo practices will initially involve buying listed and over-the-counter options in the U.S. equity markets, but he has plans to extend his reach when the time is right. “If I know how to price an option thrown at me and I can replicate it synthetically, I'm indifferent as to what I actually trade.”
Isn't he having second thoughts about starting a hedge fund when market leaders such as Long Term Capital Management are falling on their faces? “This is a good time to do volatility arbitrage,” he declares. “My expectation was that option prices would be efficient, but I've experienced the opposite of that. In high-volatility periods, in fact, option prices become quite inefficient.”
- Joesph Toussaint has ben named executive vice president of business development for ConAgra Energy Services, and executive vice president of ConAgra Trade Group. He had served as managing director at Sempra Energy (formerly AIG Trading Corp.).
- Infinity, a SunGard company, has named Joseph Erickson senior vice president of worldwide professional services. He had served as a partner at KPMG. Infinity also promoted Shawn McMorran to managing director for Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa, from general manager for the United Kingdom and Southern Europe at SunGard, and David Jones to managing director for Japan and Korea, from general manager at SunGard.
- C-ATS Software promoted Alfred Payton to director of client services in the Americas, from manager of client services in the Americas.
- Stephen Kruft has been elected director of Swiss Re New Markets. He continues to serve as general counsel in Swiss Re's New York office.
- Strategic Weather Services has named Ian Clarke vice president, financial and commodities information services. He had served as a commodity markets manager at Bloomberg Financial Markets.
- Ely Eshel has been named chief technology officer at Mint Communication Systems. He had served as vice president of technology at Level 8 Systems.
- Ameren Energy has named Barry Frazier director of trading, Jaime Haro and Steve Fritz power traders, Steve Wisniewski director of structured products, Ken Wabel structured products analyst, and Ajay Arora and Taehyun Kim quantitative research and risk management analysts.
- ABN Amro has named Chris Macmillan head of Libor sales. He had served as cohead of Libor sales at Warburg Dillon Read.
- Tim Batho has become head of equity derivatives for institutions at BT Alex Brown International. He previously served as head of index management at Legal & General in Australia.
- Barclays Capital has appointed Monty Agarwal associate director for yen interest rate derivatives trading. He had served as a trader of Asian currency derivatives and exotics at Bankers Trust. It has also named Fumihiro Furukawa and Mark Stephan associate directors, Japanese equity derivatives. Stephen had traded and structured Southeast Asian equity index products at Bankers Trust. Furukawa had been a trader at Paribas Tokyo.
- Bear Stearns has named Anant Patel managing director for its financial analytics and structured transactions team. He was previously head of portfolio strategies and research for fixed income and equity at Nomura International. It also named Carl Ross, former chief economist for Latin America at BT Alex Brown, head of Latin America sovereign research.
- Donald Mumma, a former independent risk management consultant, has joined Axiom Software Laboratories as managing director, responsible for risk management outsourcing and energy industry consulting.
- The International Securities Market Association has named James O'Brien, managing director and head of investment-grade credit trading at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, to its board of directors.
- James Daly, a former general manager of Dow Jones Markets, has been named U.K. president of IQ Financial Systems.
Please fax information on job changes to: 212-366-0551