Citigroup wins FX Week strategy award

FX research has been growing in importance in recent years as banks battle to differentiate themselves in today’s competitive market. One of the growing trends in the FX research field has been the analysis of flows. The massive increase in cross-border activity and mergers and acquisitions in the mid to late 1990s put a new emphasis on flows research and ushered in a new era for analysts. Volatility in the FX markets related to flows has given rise to the need for clients to sometimes re-hedge exposures quickly, and strategists’ advice becomes crucial.

However, this year, more traditional forms of analysis have become relevant once again, and this trend is set to continue, according to Robert Sinche, global head of FX research at Citibank in New York. "I think over the next year or so we will begin a period where we get back to basics, and some of those traditional forms of analysis in terms of trade activity and growth and interest rate differentials may come back in fashion," Sinche said. "That, combined with the flows, is where the market is headed in terms of the big picture in research."

Citi’s FX strategy team is managed by Sinche in New York, complemented by strategist TJ Marta and Tom Fitzpatrick, global head of FX technical analysis. The team is completed in London by senior FX strategist Steve Saywell, global currency economist Steven Englander and Richard Adams, director of the CitiFX Flows team. Japanese insight is provided by Tomoko Fujii, Japan economist at Nikko Salomon Smith Barney in Tokyo.

Although Citi triumphed in the overall voting, and polled most votes from corporate respondents, last year’s winner Deutsche Bank took the top spot among institutional investors.

Michael Rosenberg, global head of FX research at Deutsche in New York, said being innovative is getting more difficult in today’s cut-throat market. "The problem is that information is disseminated so rapidly that what is innovative this month will be copied elsewhere," he said.

Deutsche’s FX team has 10 FX analysts globally in London, New York, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Rosenberg manages the global team from New York.UBS Warburg, meanwhile, snared most votes among banking respondents, and took third place overall in the voting for the category. ABN Amro made its first appearance in the top five for this award this year. The Dutch bank placed fifth in the overall voting for the award, a result that pays tribute to the bank’s growth in that area, said Tony Norfield, global head of FX strategy at ABN in London.

In keeping with last year’s award, the top five banks in the FX research and strategy category correspond to the top five banks in the best bank overall for foreign exchange dealing, deepening the view that clients increasingly see FX research as a key part of a bank’s FX service.

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