NEW YORK, Oct 9 (Reuters) - BNP Paribas, making good on its chief executive’s promise to expand outside of its troubled European base, has filled a long-vacant senior sales position in its fixed-income business in the United States.
Jonathan Bass, who since April had been head of high-yield sales at Mizuho Financial Group’s U.S. broker-dealer, joined BNP this week to run U.S. fixed-income distribution and origination in New York, a bank spokeswoman confirmed.
The position had been open since June 2011, when Kip Testwuide was elevated to co-head of fixed-income Americas at the French bank. Bass, who has worked in securities sales for more than 20 years, reports to Testwuide.
Previously, Bass had run global sales at now-bankrupt futures broker MF Global Holdings, was global head of fixed income at BTIG Institutional Services, and was in charge of U.S. fixed-income sales at UBS AG for nine years.
A spokesman at Mizuho Financial Group’s U.S. broker-dealer said Bass left the Japanese bank last month for a more senior position at another bank. Mizuho continues to hire fixed-income salespeople and traders at Mizuho Securities USA, and would have liked Bass to stay, said a source at the securities firm.
BNP Chief Executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafe told the Financial Times last month that he planned to expand fixed-income and other “key businesses” in Asia and other regions outside of Europe. The United States “is part of that game,” he said.
BNP, which has more than half its loan exposure in the euro zone, has joined rivals like Societe Generale and Credit Agricole in worldwide cutbacks to cope with the loss of cheap funding, dormant credit demand and the need to build capital as a result of the euro zone crisis. It told analysts last summer that it was six months ahead of schedule in reaching its capital goals, leading some to forecast that it would selectively expand.
BNP’s U.S. growth plans will center in large part on the wealth management businesses run by its California-based Bank West unit, Bonnafe said in the interview with the Financial Times last month. Bonnafe took BNP’s top post in December.