BMO to build on Canadian success with ambitions in China

BMO Capital Markets has been voted Best Bank for the Canadian Dollar for the sixth year running

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Simon Watkins: "We find that we have to be able to deal with any occasion as it happens"

When an award is voted to go to the same winner six times in a row, the recipient must enjoy a warm glow of satisfaction from the knowledge that the business is doing a good job. But while BMO Capital Markets is in the enviable position of coming top in the Best Bank for the Canadian Dollar category at the 2016 FX Week Best Banks Awards, the firm has no intention of resting on its laurels.

The Canadian bank has been developing its foreign exchange operations in China over the last decade to where it believes it is now a respected player in both the CNY and CNH marketplaces. Expanding in Asia, the bank has been steadily adding staff to its local team in pursuit of further market-making opportunities in the renminbi.

"That has been a business we have built from scratch and we don't feel we are anywhere near the top of that pyramid yet, and there is lots of room to grow. We have a good team in place in Hong Kong and now we have actively added to that team through the year. We are very pleased with the business that is happening there, and that continues to be our focus as a growth area," says Simon Watkins, managing director of global fixed-income, currencies & commodities at BMO.

The bank has also been adding to its trading operations for spot and forwards, as well as growing its sales team in the region, from two people to six.

The pipeline to us is never-ending, insofar as it is a constant ongoing dialogue with clients. We will be reactive to their needs while also being proactive to changes in the marketplace
Simon Watkins, BMO Capital Markets

"We still think that opportunistically, we can grow that business. We are in a position where we are lucky we are not a business that is shrinking at the moment. We are adding clients, we are adding volume, and if the right mix of business is available down there, we will look at it," Watkins says.

He attributes BMO's winning streak to the bank's ability to stay engaged with clients. "The pipeline to us is never-ending, insofar as it is a constant ongoing dialogue with clients. We will be reactive to their needs while also being proactive to changes in the marketplace," Watkins says.

"We have a bespoke set of clients. It really is reacting to whether there be a hedging need, an investment need or whether there be a funding need. At all times, we are reacting to their want. We find that we have to be able to deal with any occasion as it happens," he adds.

Click for editor's introduction, list of interviews and awards tables

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