BNP Prime Brokerage Hiring for Global Push

Emma Sugarman, head of capital introduction for BNP Paribas, leaves for London later this month for the start of a two-continent hiring tour aimed at establishing outposts in Europe and Asia.

It's the latest sign that the Paris bank is getting serious about expanding the U.S.-based prime-brokerage business it acquired from Bank of America in September 2008 into a global operation. Sugarman is looking to hire at least two cap-intro people for the London office and possibly a third to work in Paris. She will then travel to Hong Kong to interview for two cap-intro positions covering Asia.

Meanwhile, Sam Hocking, BNP's global head of prime-brokerage sales, has several hires in the pipeline for sales positions in the U.S., and the bank is expected to add still more U.S.-based salespeople later this year. Once the prime-brokerage operation goes global next year, the bank is expected to hire salespeople for Europe and Asia.

One market player said BNP has been interviewing "quite a few people" as part of the global hiring effort. She said the bank has a favorable reputation in the prime-brokerage arena because of well-respected managers it retained from BofA, including Sugarman; Jeff Lowe, who heads the "on-boarding" team that helps situate new clients; J.P. Muir, deputy global head of prime-brokerage sales; and Jake Jacoby, head of prime-brokerage trading risk.

After BNP acquired the BofA unit, there was a fair amount of staff and client turnover. In the first quarter of 2009, BNP sold about 150 smaller prime-brokerage accounts to Jefferies. Since then, however, the French bank has been on a push to grow the business both in the U.S. and overseas. BNP has 320 people dedicated to prime brokerage and, despite the initial turmoil, the bank managed to preserve 97% of the unit's revenue.

One of the most recent U.S. hires was Satyan Shah, who joined Sugarman's capital-introduction team in New York last week. He previously worked at Albert Hallac's Weston Capital, a Westport, Conn., hedge fund incubator, and, before that, at Citigroup, Northern Trust and Goldman Sachs.

CORRECTION (6/15/10): This article has been corrected. The original version provided misspelled the last name of Jake Jacoby.

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