Amex expands in FX options

"We’re making a committed effort to improve and expand our sales effort," said Matthew Porio, New York-based global head of FX spot and options. "We want to be more prominent in options." He declined to comment on the number of FX options staff now based in London and on the possibility of further hires.

Chang joined in London last month as an FX options trader for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) reporting to Porio.

FX options trader David Allright left Amex in November to move to Wachovia Bank in London after Chang’s hire. He was due to report to Chang. His departure was not related to Chang’s hire, said Porio. At Wachovia, Allright is reporting to head of FX trading Nick Motson. He has also worked in FX sales at the Industrial Bank of Japan.

Chang joined Amex from New York-based software vendor Integral, where he was a principal business specialist in sales. Prior to that, he was a senior FX options trader at Rayner & Stonington, a Greenwich-based hedge fund with $80 million under management, where he also ran the interest rate programme.

Trend setters

Several banks have beefed up their FX options operations recently. AIG Trading took Don Lee to head its global options effort last month (FX Week, December 9).

Barclays Capital has also expanded its options team under Ivan Ritossa, global head of FX. "Corporates’ use of options is going up," he said in October. "Everyone is getting more sophisticated in hedging their exposures, and options are a very efficient way of hedging -- especially for corporate clients." Despina Pantopoulou became the firm’s new global head of FX options in August.

The notional value of FX options contracts during the first six months of 2002 surged by 39% compared with the same period last year, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) reported in November (FX Week, November 11).

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