Cotti restructures J.P. Morgan's trade business

J.P. Morgan's global trade executive targets corporate customers to grow the bank's business.
Daniel Cotti
Daniel Cotti

In the latest strategic move at J.P. Morgan, global trade executive Daniel Cotti is restructuring the institution's trade business with the aim of doubling trade revenues in three years.

Since joining J.P. Morgan from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) last August, Cotti has restructured J.P. Morgan's trade business into three product categories -- traditional trade, supply chain and structured trade finance -- added advisory and execution teams to supplement its sales force, and created global and regional strategies for the business.

"My goal is to prepare the organisation for growth," he said.

Pravin Advani
Pravin Advani

In addition to the restructuring, sources report that the bank has hired Pravin Advani from RBS as head of trade for Asia-Pacific, a role currently held by Yanti Agustin. J.P. Morgan would not confirm the appointment, although Cotti said the bank was hiring 30 new staff for its trade business in Asia.

"We are moving ahead with light speed, bringing in additional talent for the group, and deploying our products into more countries and for more clients," he said. J.P. Morgan will reportedly be announcing additional executive appointments for its trade business in Europe and North America later this week.

RBS confirmed Advani's departure, but declined to comment on his replacement.

Advani has been Asia regional head of trade at RBS since June 2008. He joined the institution as part of its 2007 acquisition of ABN AMRO. Prior to joining the Dutch bank in 2006, Advani spent 15 years at Citi in various roles, including head of trade services and finance for Citigroup Russia. He worked with Cotti before the latter's departure to J.P. Morgan last year.

Yanti Augustin
Yanti Augustin
Agustin, before becoming Asia-Pacific head of global trade services at J.P. Morgan in September 2008, was head of corporate and institutional trade finance for Southeast and South Asia. While regional trade head, she oversaw growth in J.P. Morgan's structured trade business, including a $1.1 billion loan to Air India guaranteed by the Export-Import Bank of the United States in January, and product extensions, including an expansion of Asian currency capabilities, last September.

The trade business restructuring comes as J.P. Morgan is in the process of creating a global corporate bank, a move Cotti calls a "joint venture between the investment bank and treasury and securities services". The new business line will sell loans and commercial banking services to multinational corporations and large local corporates; two market segments that are also being targeted for the trade business.

"In India, we're expanding [our] market share on the corporate side," said Cotti. "We're positioning ourselves to help multinational subsidiaries as well as large Indian corporates in their banking activities. These are two focus areas in addition to the banking sector that we serve already." He said the corporate side is also the focus in China.

Cotti added that currently "close to 70%" of J.P. Morgan's trade revenue comes from banks, with the rest coming from corporates. He said that while the institution will continue to be "the bankers' bank", his goal is to grow its corporate segment.

China and India are two markets the bank is targeting for further growth in the trade finance business. Cotti would not specify whether this will mean more branches, but did say the most significant increases in head count will be in these markets, as well as in J.P. Morgan's regional hubs in Hong Kong and Singapore.

"We are growing the business with more headcount on the ground, our product offering and enhanced systems," he said. "Having scalability will enable us to support the rapid growth of our clients' business."

J.P. Morgan currently has one branch in India (in Mumbai) and five in China (in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Tianjin).

Cotti became head of RBS's global trade business following its acquisition of ABN AMRO in 2007. He has over 30 years of financial services experience and has also worked in various roles with Citi and Swiss Bank Corp. He joined J.P. Morgan to replace Bruce Proctor who left the bank in February 2009.

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