HSBC names new London chief

Brown, currently head of forex for the Asia-Pacific region, takes on the position previously occupied by Rob Loewy, who left HSBC on March 1, after 15 years with the bank.

Mike Powell, head of global markets and treasurer for Europe, has been managing foreign exchange in London temporarily since Loewy’s departure.

HSBC has also hired Adrian Boehler to manage forex sales to financial institutions in the UK and Europe, reporting to James Tanner, European head of global market sales to financial institutions. A spokesperson at the bank said the appointments demonstrate its commitment to its European business.

The bank has made steady increases in its forex profits over the past five years, which stood at $1.24 billion in 2003 - making it the third-highest forex-earning bank after Citigroup and UBS.

"HSBC’s foreign exchange business has the potential to be bigger than it is - it’s still too regionalised," said one forex recruitment consultant in New York.

HSBC has previously said it is upgrading two areas within its global foreign exchange business, with targeted expansions in North America and currency options. As a result of the first effort, it has reported a threefold increase in forex client volume in North America, and double year-on-year dealing profits - half of which globally is made from foreign exchange.

In global options, the bank hired 11 people for its teams in London, New York and Hong Kong in 2003, to reach a headcount in excess of 30.

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