Morning Coffee Sep 01 2009

Citigroup to Expand Commodities Team Significantly

By kyle stock

Citigroup is making good on a promise by Vikram Pandit, the CEO who pledged to buy into Asia.

The beleaguered bank is planning "double-digit" growth of its 22-person commodity team in Asia, driven by relatively bullish markets in copper, oil and sugar.

Citi has 300 commodities folks worldwide, ten times more than it had in 2005.

Indeed, the sector has been fueling a lot of jobs recently. BofA is looking to hire 200 in the next two years to deal in pork bellies, corn futures and the like, while Barclays is on the hunt for 20 commodities pros this year. And the possibility of a carbon cap-and-trade bill has traders preparing for the possibility of a new, huge market to play in.

Hedge-Fund Refugees
London Mayor Boris Johnson is heading to Brussels this week to try to talk EU politicians out of a plan that would crimp hedge funds. A number of those companies have already fled to Switzerland, which has opened its arms to finance shops recently. (The Telegraph)

New Sheriff
The SEC is reportedly poised to tap a Wall Street muckraker to head its Office of Risk Management. Henry Hu, a University of Texas law professor, made his name ferreting out shady deals in derivatives. (New York Post) Risk has been a hot topic at other places aside from The SEC as of late. (FINS)

Florida Cooling Off
Bank of America filed plans to lay off 50 workers in Fort Lauderdale. No doubt, the plummeting Florida real-estate market played a part in that decision. (South Florida Business Journal)

Meanwhile, in Rhode Island
Royal Bank of Scotland is laying off an untold number of workers at its Citizens unit in Rhode Island. RBS plans to shed 9,000 workers over the next two years. (Providence Journal)

Help Me M&A
There are many paths to success, but how do you get into i-banking if you are an "escort" in Asia? Here are some strategies to bust into the bulge bracket or boutiques no matter what your current calling is. (Mergers&Inquisitions)

Anomaly on the Plains
North Dakota, with relatively low unemployment, makes a good argument for a diverse economy. Healthcare, higher education and energy have granted the state a $1 billion budget surplus. Land is plentiful too; finance jobs -- not so much. (BusinessWeek)

A Wilting PE Shop?
Is Chris Flowers, the PE giant fond of distressed investments, a bit distressed? Some possibly ill-timed buys by his J.C. Flowers & Co. are not panning out well. (Fortune)

Running Idle
Some 70% of U.S. companies have recently furloughed workers or were considering it. What should you do if one comes your way? Stay active; stay positive. (WSJ) The Waiting Game There's a fine line between persistence and nagging. Geoff Hibner, former CFO of Banta Corp., discusses the wait for a follow-up interview. His advice: don't pester. (WSJ)

What Happened?
Almost all of the 200 books submitted for the FT "Business Book of the Year" competition tackle the crisis. Look for more Great Recession yarns through 2010. Here are the FT's 15 finalists. (FT)

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