IntesaBCI puts weather risk on hold

The Italian bank created a New York-based structured products team in July last year, with ambitious plans to become the first and leading Italian bank in the weather market. But market participants that declined attribution claimed the bank has failed to close a single deal.

Some traders claimed IntesaBCI had closed its weather desk, but Richard Turrin, IntesaBCI’s New York-based global head of structured products, said the weather unit’s development had only been postponed, due to internal restructuring. He added that the move did not signify inherent problems with the weather risk market.

Turrin told RiskNews there is likely to be a review of the bank’s weather trading operations by the end of the year. He added that all four members of the weather desk had been retained, but assigned other duties within the structured products group for the time being. He refused to comment on whether the bank had closed any weather deals.

IntesaBCI is believed to be cutting back on new and potentially risky businesses in the wake of credit derivatives losses related to Argentina and Enron. The Italian bank is facing losses of about Eur1.2 billion. “It’s retreating from conceivably profitable businesses, seeking to be more conservative,” claimed one weather participant.

Turrin joined IntesaBCI from French bank BNP Paribas in early 2001. In January this year BNP ceased weather trading, citing poor returns for what was proving a time-consuming process.

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