UPDATE 1-BNP Paribas suffers seventh Asia-Pacific equity sales departure -sources

Tue May 13, 2014 6:01am EDT

* Departure coincides with renewed Asian expansion drive

* Bank has lost seven of nine in cash equities sales this year -source

* Equity sales profit hit by e-trading, regulatory change (Adds other departures, bank's Asia ambitions)

By Lawrence White

HONG KONG, May 13 (Reuters) - BNP Paribas SA's head of equity sales in Asia Pacific Stephen Carney on Tuesday became the seventh departure from a nine-person sales team over the past nine months, people familiar with the matter said.

Carney's resignation from the cash equities sales team follows the departures of Kevin Bilsby, Lee McQueen and Timothy Wong in the last month, showed BNP filings with Hong Kong's securities regulator.

The departures coincide with BNP's renewed Asian growth plan, announced in March, under which the bank will hire 1,300 bankers over three years in its investment solutions and corporate investment banking divisions.

BNP, like global peers, had embarked on Asian expansion after the 2008 global financial crisis, betting on a boom in stock sales and trading as equities markets recovered quicker than in Western markets.

As part of that expansion, BNP sent emerging markets cash equities head Lee Cook from London to Hong Kong in 2010 to take over Asia Pacific sales.

But banks have since had to contend with lower stock broking commissions to counter the rise of electronic trading, and respond to new U.S. and European regulations which have changed the way clients globally pay for research.

Reuters was unable to determine whether BNP Paribas has replaced any equity sales bankers. The person familiar with the matter declined to be identified as the information was not yet officially public.

Carney declined to comment when reached by mobile telephone.

BNP spokeswoman Lilian Goh declined to comment on any departures in an emailed statement.

"BNP Paribas' cash equity business continues to perform well in Asia-Pacific, reporting solid growth in profits in 2013 and also positive growth in Q1 2014," Goh said. (Editing by Christopher Cushing)