Howard Carr, head of foreign exchange and commodities at Prudential Bache in London, has quit his position, sparking fears for the future of the bank's forex desk in the city.Carr's departure – he left in October for personal reasons, according to a bank source – is the latest in a string of high-level departures from the Prudential Financial subsidiary during the past two years. Senior sales dealers Andy Woolmer and Garrod Treverton were the most recent, with both set to join Sweden's SEB in London on November 1. Last year, head of forex sales Richard Plane and spot euro dealer Mark Davison left, following exotics trader Guy Aldridge and forex sales dealers Steve Whittet and David Foley at the end of 2002.
John Fallon, head of trading at Prudential Financial in London, declined to comment on the bank's plans to replace any departures. But one ex-employee said the number of forex staff at the London office – 15 early last year – has "easily halved" since then as leavers, frustrated by the firm's limited product range in foreign exchange, are not replaced. This has prompted fears that the bank may eventually close the London office and service the UK from New York, suggested the ex-employee, although Prudential declined to comment on this allegation.
A London-based recruitment consultant said moving from Prudential to a larger bank is a logical move for the Prudential's staff. "If you can move to a large bank that has a strong FX focus, of course staff will be looking to make the change," the consultant said. "It will grow increasingly difficult for firms where FX is not a key competency, because there will always be opportunities for career progression elsewhere. Losing the boss doesn't bode well."
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