Forex strategists en vogue

Simon Head, director of financial markets at recruitment consultant Alexander Mann, said research is becoming one of the only ways banks can differentiate themselves. "If banks are offering the same prices, it doesn't matter how good their relationship with their clients are; if they are not offering good research, it will be difficult to attract business."

Analysts who have moved recently include TJ Marta, senior strategist at Citigroup in New York, who joined Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in New York this week as a senior currency strategist, and Jeremy Friesen, who also joined RBC in Toronto from Bank of Canada on October 18. Rob Carnell joined ING in London as a senior economist from Commonwealth Bank of Australia (FX Week, October 18). He in turn replaced Daragh Maher, who left to become a senior currency strategist at Calyon in London. Kwok-chuen Kwok left Standard Chartered in Asia to join the Hong Kong government as an economist.

Other moves include Meg Browne, who joined Brown Brothers Harriman in New York as international strategist for FX from HSBC (FX Week, November 8). More recently, Stuart Ritson joined Rabobank in London as an analyst from Goldman Sachs Asset Management, also in London (FX Week, November 22).

Strategists come with ideas, added Head. "And it is sometimes more interesting to banks if strategists can also take prop positions – it shows how confident strategists are in their own research."

Riz Din, FX strategist at Barclays Capital in London, agreed, saying that the advent of e-platforms is also a contributing factor. "FX is increasingly being viewed as an asset class, and FX business has become more commoditised – because of e-platforms, execution is simple."

He added that banks are not only using research to broaden their appeal to clients, they are hiring the most highly skilled available. "Banks want more analysts with PhDs and a higher skill set because of the nature of the demand," he told FX Week. "They are aiming for people who can make a difference – analysts who can provide the major clients with more robust frameworks and techniques, particularly with respect to quantitative analysis."

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