Banque Nationale de Paris recently got authorization from the Federal Reserve Board to create a U.S. investment banking subsidiary.
Unlike many U.S. banks that have first established a securities subsidiary and then applied for the power to underwrite corporate debt and equity, Banque Nationale applied for, and received, the widest possible securities powers from the start.
The French bank, with $345 billion of assets and offices in 80 countries, plans to originate and distribute equity and debt for both U.S. and global issuers through its New York subsidiary, BNP Capital Markets LLC.
Bank executives have targeted the "Yankee bond" market, in which global issuers offer U.S. dollar-denominated debt.
"Our goal is to serve BNP's existing U.S. client base and create cross- border transactions for the bank's customers in Europe and Asia," said Larry Sobin, chief executive of BNP Capital Markets.
Mr. Sobin joined BNP in June from HSBC Holdings, where he was chief operating officer of the London-based company's U.S. securities subsidiary. Before that, he had been a consultant at Price Waterhouse for banks trying to get into underwriting U.S. securities.
BNP Capital Markets expects to have about 90 employees by Jan. 1, when its U.S.-based structured finance group and part of its U.S. brokerage, BNP Securities, will be transferred from other parts of the bank.
The structured finance group is expected to account for about half of Mr. Sobin's staff at the beginning of next year.
Kathryn Swintek, who has worked at BNP about 10 years, runs the group, which will be known as the investment banking group after the transfer.
Ms. Swintek is responsible for leveraged buyout finance, export-import finance, asset securitization, and project finance.
The brokerage group being transferred concentrates on selling European and Asian equities to U.S. institutional investors. The unit's large stock clearance outfit will remain with BNP Securities.
Mr. Sobin said he plans to hire 20 to 30 people next year. He said bank executives have no plan to buy a U.S. securities firm at this time and that they intend to achieve any growth in his unit by transferring people from other parts of the bank or making strategic hirings.
The bank has filled two key posts in its fledgling junk bond group.
J. Mark Cimperman recently joined the bank from SBC Warburg Dillon Read, where he was a senior trader on the high-yield desk. He will be in charge of BNP's junk bond trading. Mr. Cimperman spent the bulk of his career at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, the leading junk bond shop.
Sherri Andrews joined about a year ago from CIBC Oppenheimer, the U.S. securities subsidiary of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. She is BNP's chief of high-yield research.