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Derivatives

RBS Expands Equity Trading Force

The Royal Bank of Scotland is setting up a trading book for South Africa, considering a similar move for Eastern Europe and planning to double its single-stock options trading team as part of its firm-wide expansion into investment banking.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is setting up a trading book for South Africa, considering a similar move for Eastern Europe and planning to double its single-stock options trading team as part of its firm-wide expansion into investment banking. "We're looking to start doing something a bit more wide-ranging," said Mike Asplin, head of equity index trading at RBS in London.

The bank has hired Maxine Barnett, a South African options trader at BNP Paribas in Paris, according to Asplin. He is also planning to hire another index trader, who would likely be put onto one of these new projects. Barnett will be the eighth trader in RBS' index equity derivatives team. The firm also has two single stock traders and Asplin plans to double this to four by year-end.

Any emerging market index trading books would be driven by proprietary trading, but the firm will also look to drum up customer flows, noted Asplin.

RBS' push into investment banking was given a boost in February when Vincent Dahinden, former head of structured credit at Merrill Lynch in London, came on board (DW, 8/02). The strong distribution network at RBS will help build up customer business, noted rivals.

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