August 25, 2008 / 10:23 AM / 10 years ago

StanChart hires ex-Lehman oil trader, eyes expansion

SINGAPORE, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Former Lehman Brothers trader Cyril Youinou has joined Standard Chartered (STAN.L) in Singapore as head of its oil trading desk, StanChart said on Monday, as the bank prepares to expand its Asian energy trading operations.

As director energy derivatives, Youinou will head a team of three traders, which will initially trade crude and oil product derivatives, but would eventually move into physical trading, an industry source said.

StanChart’s expansion plan comes as other banks have been closing or relocating part of their trading desks, after taking a beating from the U.S. subprime crisis.

Energy trading has also become more difficult due to heighthened price volatility after oil prices CLc1 surged 45 percent between January and mid-July to records near $150 a barrel, before sliding to around $115 recently.

But StanChart (2888.HK), whose business is Asia-focused, has shown resilience.

The bank beat analysts’ forecasts with a 31 percent jump in first-half profit, as Asian economic growth continued to outpace western economies. Its wholesale banking arm grew strongly, with pretax profit for the six months to end-June reaching $2.59 billion.

Frenchman Youinou, 31, started his career in Singapore with Societe Generale before joining J.Aron, the energy and commodities arm of U.S. invesment bank Goldman Sachs (GS.N).

He later moved to Lehman, first in Tokyo and then Singapore when the U.S. investment bank opened its trading office here.

Youinou joins a number of former Lehman traders from different asset classes who have made the switch to StanChart.

The bank said in April it had hired three senior executives from Lehman LEH.N — Remy Klammers as the new global head of fixed income trading, Alexis Suzat as global head of structured products trading and Marten Agren as global head of modelling and analytics group, financial markets.

StanChart expects growth in most countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa to moderate, but said it should stay well ahead of growth elsewhere. [ID:nL5598743]

Lehman is among the U.S. banks whose business has been battered by mounting losses sparked by the U.S. housing slump. Lehman’s stock has lost nearly 80 percent of its value this year and the investment bank has taken $7 billion in write-downs.

Others that have exited include French bank BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), which shut its derivatives trading desk in the second quarter and relocated in London.

Morgan Stanley (MS.N), one of the investment banks most successful in carving a niche in the physical oil market with its middle distillates trading book, has put its Asian fuel oil trading business on hold just a year after entering the market.

But like StanChart, JPMorgan (JPM.N) has plans to expand and to begin trading physical oil by year-end. [ID:nSP148501] (Editing by Ramthan Hussain)

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