A total of 10 fixed income traders and sales staff quit RBS in Australia today (January 20) and have signed to join Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, asiamoney.com can reveal.
The bankers came from three areas of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Sydney office covering corporate sales, financial institution sales and trading. One of their personal assistants also exited, bringing the total headcount hire for BoA-ML to 11.
The most senior departure was managing director Chris Thomas, who as RBS’ head of Delta trading had a number of bond, derivatives and credit traders reporting to him.
It is understood he will join BoA-ML as a managing director to lead its fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) sales and trading desk in Sydney, a source familiar with the situation said.
The other nine bankers were of varying seniority, the source added. It is understood they will all join BoA-ML in May.
A spokesperson for RBS in Sydney confirmed the resignations, but denied that they would negatively impact the firm’s ability to service its clients.
“There have been a number of departures from our markets business, but this is across a number of teams and it won’t impact our ability to deliver for our clients,” she said.
“For instance, we lost two on the corporate sales side, but there were 12 in that team. So it will be business as usual for RBS.”
It is understood that RBS had a total of about 70 bankers covering the fixed income market in Australia, so that number has now been reduced by about 14%.
But BoA-ML is evidently seeking to expand its global markets team. It is estimated to be about 135-strong in Australia, so this recruitment represents close to a 10% expansion.
Moreover, in October last year Craig Drummond joined BoA-ML as country executive in Australia. It is his responsibility to oversee strategy and direction and these hires fall under his remit.
Drummond was previously CEO of Goldman Sachs JBWere, having worked his way through the firm from research analyst, to head of equities, to co-head of corporate finance and then chief operating officer.
Drummond reports to Brian Brille, BoA-ML’s Asia-Pacific president.
A spokesman for BoA-ML declined to comment.