Appointments at the world’s largest banks are never far from the headlines, as this week’s latest two announcements show.

Barclays has appointed Niels Aage Juhl Christensen as a managing director within its investment bank as it continues to boost its Emea equity derivatives sales. Based in Paris, Christensen will have responsibility for equity derivatives distribution in the Nordics as head of equity distribution Nordics and report to Andreas Konomis and his former colleague at Bank of America, Christian Treuer, who joined the Barclays earlier this year as co-head of Emea derivative distribution, global equities group, SRP Understands. 

Another noteworthy piece of news saw Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Banking (CACIB) appoint Frank Drouet, the former head of global markets at Société Générale, as the deputy head of the global markets division. Drouet is based in Paris and reports to Pierre Gay, head of the global markets division and deputy CEO of CACIB. The bank is seeking to capitalise on Drouet’s ‘extensive experience and a broad and deep knowledge of the capital markets, gained both in France and internationally’ to achieve its ‘ambitious objectives’ as CACIB’s market activities continue to grow, according to Gay.

The Swiss structured products association (SSPA) has partnered with the Institute of Banking and Finance at the University of Zurich to launch the SSPA Lab, an online gaming platform for structured products. The free Lab has been developed with an interactive approach and provides a ‘simple and playful introduction to the topic of structured products’ - in a matter of seconds, the most common products can be created and tested in various bullish and bearish scenarios, according to the association.

US index provider S&P DJI has added to its suite of cryptocurrency themed products by launching the S&P Cryptocurrency Broad Digital Market (BDM) Index which provides a wider performance snapshot of the cryptocurrency market and includes over 240 coins at the time of its launch.

Citigroup wealth management has launched a Digital Assets Group to capitalise on the demand for digital assets. The bank will help its richest clients gain exposure to cryptocurrencies and digital assets via a new dedicated team inside its wealth management business which will be headed by Alex Kriete and Greg Girasole. The new business unit will be responsible for enabling the bank’s clients to invest in cryptocurrencies, stable coins, non-fungible tokens as well as central bank digital currencies.

The bank’s move follows similar efforts from other investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan seeking to respond to investor demand despite significant volatility in the prices of major cryptocurrencies.

Staying with Citi, the US bank has seen its sales of structured products in the US increase significantly over the last quarter. Citi as an issuer group has boosted its structured product sales by over US$1 billion in the second quarter of 2021 with US$3 billion, compared with US$1.9 billion accounting for 667 products in Q2 20.

For its part, J.P. Morgan has reported net income of US$11.9 billion for the second quarter of 2021 – up US$7.3 billion year-on-year (YoY). Net revenue of US$31.4 billion was down seven percent. It was the number three issuer of structured products in the US with a 12.4% share of the market in Q2 2021, behind Barclays (15%) and Goldman Sachs (14%), but ahead of Citi (12.2%) and Morgan Stanley (10.9%), according to SRP data.

The bank sold 1,167 structured products worth US$3.1 billion between April 1 and June 30, an increase of 82% by sales volume from the prior year period (Q2 2020: US$1.7 billion from 1,013 products).

Goldman Sachs has significantly increased its sales of structured products in the US market after posting US$3.4 billion across 832 products in Q2 21, compared with US$1.6 billion on the back of 596 products during the same period, a year prior. However, sales volumes remained subdued until the first quarter of 2021 when the bank racked up US$3.5 billion across 923 structured products.

Finally, gender equality data provider Equileap has partnered with Nasdaq to launch the Nasdaq ESG Data Hub. The new platform connects investors with expert-led ESG data sets from seven providers across a wide spectrum of areas, including diversity, carbon emissions and green bonds, providing the detailed and tangible intelligence on companies’ ESG profiles.

The platform will include ESG data from Equileap (gender equality), Ecogain (biodiversity), RepRisk (reputational risk), Munich Re (climate risk), Inrate (carbon emissions), Upright Project (net impact) and Clean Tech (renewable technology).

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