BNP Paribas Hires Six, Brings Tokyo Equity Desk to 100

BNP Paribas SA has hired six people since July to strengthen its Japanese equity coverage, signaling bullishness about the nation’s stocks.

With five of the appointments in Japan, the Tokyo equity desk at France’s biggest bank now has about 100 staff, completing a hiring plan two years ahead of schedule, Kyoya Okazawa, local head of global equities and commodity derivatives, said in an interview yesterday.

Japan’s Topix index surged 39 percent this year through yesterday, more than any other developed market, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought to end deflation with his stimulus program known as Abenomics. BNP Paribas expects the gauge to climb to 1,350 by the end of this year, 13 percent higher than yesterday’s close, and reach 1,500 by the end of March 2014.

“Japan used to be a forgotten country, but Abenomics pushed it to the center of attention completely,” Okazawa said. “We want to ramp up our coverage on companies that rely on domestic demand.”

Tsukasa Odawara is scheduled to start today on BNP Paribas’ sales desk in Tokyo, selling structured products linked to the Nikkei 225 Stock Average, known as Nikkei uridashi bonds, after leaving Bank of America Merrill Lynch, according to Okazawa. Three analysts and one trader were hired in Tokyo in July and August, he said, while another trader was added in Hong Kong.

Other Hires

Masahiro Wakasugi joined from Jefferies LLC. to cover information technology, Okazawa said. Masashi Mori, formerly of Deutsche Bank AG, was appointed as a consumer analyst, and Yasuharu Sugimura came from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to handle transportation and real estate, Okazawa said.

Kentaro Kawabe, previously at JPMorgan Chase & Co., will work in algorithmic trading and direct market access in Tokyo, while Carrie Cheung will do so from Hong Kong, he said.

Okazawa said he has hired about 35 staff in Japan since joining the bank from Credit Suisse Group AG in March 2011.

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