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BNP Picks Up the Pieces as Europe’s Banks Sever Hedge Funds Ties

  • Lender is building up prime brokerage with series of deals
  • Steep losses and U.S. banks’ dominance prompted peers to exit
    
Photographer: Theo Giacometti/Bloomberg

Bank after bank across Europe has decided it’s not worth the trouble to try to compete with Wall Street in the high-speed, high-risk world of equities trading. BNP Paribas SA begs to differ.

The French lender last week agreed to take on the hedge fund clients of Credit Suisse Group AG after the Swiss bank decided to exit the so-called prime brokerage business in the wake of $5.5 billion in losses from a single relationship. For BNP, it’s the third recent transaction to boost its equities unit and follows a similar deal with Deutsche Bank AG two years ago.