BNP Paribas CIB

BNP Paribas CIB, or BNP Paribas Corporate and Investment Banking, is the investment banking arm of the French bank BNP Paribas. BNP Paribas CIB has a presence in 53 countries, with headquarters in London, Paris and New York. It employs 17,000 people and has more than $2 trillion in assets under management. It has 13,000 clients which are mostly private sector and include hedge funds, companies and investment funds.

It is not one of the largest investment banking areas, but it is seen as world leading in two areas, structured finance and trading in derivatives. It does have activities in a wide range of other areas, particularly as a corporate advisor, although outside a few niches these are not as recognized as its derivatives trading and structured finance. The derivatives trading activity is across a wide variety of asset classes including debt, equities and commodities.

It has a number of famous employees, including Louis Alphonse who is the current Duke of Anjou and according to a number of French royalists is the legitimate heir to the (vacant) throne of France. It also employs the investment theorist Nassim Taleb, the author of the popular investment book “The Black Swan” which argues that investors are too wedded to normal conditions and underestimates the chances of catastrophic investment events such as the credit crunch. BNP Paribas claims to have weathered the credit crunch well, particularly in the trading of debt and other fixed income securities.

The parent company, BNP Paribas, is one of the world’s largest banking groups; it is the world’s thirteenth largest company and the largest company in France. It is also the largest bank in the Euro zone by assets, although compared to the British and Swiss banks it is relatively small (neither Britain nor Switzerland are in the Euro zone).

BNP Paribas is headquartered in Paris, although a large part of the investment banking work is done outside Paris. It is quoted on the Paris Stock Exchange. BNP Paribas is the result of the merger of two large French banks, the Banque National de Paris and Paribas. As a result of this it has a very strong customer base in France, serving about six million French households. A large part of its investment banking business comes from its retail banking network, although it directs this through its London office.

BNP Paribas CIB sells itself as one of the world’s stronger investment banks, being rated highly by the credit rating agency Standard & Poor. Due to this strong position it has been part of the attempts to shore up the world’s banking system, buying 75% of the large Belgian bank Fortis in a rescue of the troubled bank. Fortis Bank also had a reasonably large investment banking presence which is slowly being integrated into BNP Paribas’s offering.

BNP Paribas CIB claims that a large part of its success has been due to superior techniques of risk management. They claim that they should no longer be seen as purely a leading European investment bank but they should be judged on their presence on the world stage. This is perhaps a bit early compared to the large banks from English speaking countries such as the USA, the UK and Canada.

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