Foley to launch Gelber foreign exchange desk

Foley plans to hire 10 to 15 foreign exchange traders, covering spot, futures, options and interest rate products. They will add to the team of 150 traders at Gelber in Chicago, trading products such as US government securities, stock indexes and financial futures.

Foley said the growth of services such as prime brokerage – where institutions may trade foreign exchange or other products via a prime broker for credit reasons – have prompted the firm to examine the lucrative forex market. "Prime brokerage is growing rapidly, making it easier for non-bank entities to get access to a previously bank-dominated environment," he said. Other industry trends, such as the increasing use of technology for trading, are also helping open the forex market to new market participants.

At the same time, soaring volumes in foreign exchange futures have encouraged Gelber, which currently accounts for some 15-20% of all volume at the Chicago Board of Trade and 10-15% at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, to start trading forex. So far this year, CME's currency futures volume is up 41% year-on-year, with more than 25 million contracts traded between January and July.

Foley stayed on at Bank One after its July 2 merger with JP Morgan Chase, but will leave this week before taking up his new job at Gelber in mid-September. He turned down a senior role at the newly-merged bank, which would have meant a move to New York for Foley, who preferred to stay in the Windy City.

Foley joined Bank One from Bank of America, where he also managed global foreign exchange options. He plans to complete the line-up of his team at Gelber by the end of September.

Although fuller details of the hires are not yet available, industry sources are expecting to see a range of familiar faces from banks in Chicago – and specifically from the pre-merger Bank One – in Foley's team.

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