Goldman Beefs Up Commodities, Rating Agencies Face Threat, Nomura Watches Costs, UBS Hires Over 1,000

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Bloomberg reports that, according to an unnamed person familiar with the plans, Goldman Sachs is to open a physical commodities trading office in Houston and expects to hire around 12 sales and trading professionals to work there by the year-end.

The news agency also reports that Jesse Bhattal, CEO of Nomura's wholesale division, has said that the unit will see a 'noticeable improvement' in its performance over the next 18 months. Bhattal told Bloomberg: 'When we start to see the benefit of the very aggressive cost discipline that we've started to institute over the last 12 months, that will bolster earnings (too)'.

Bhattal also acknowledged that 'there are certain of our core countries in which we need to add some muscle - namely China, Australia and India'.

And The Wall Street Journal reports that US regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission is said to be considering bringing civil fraud charges against rating agencies Moody's Investor Services and Standard & Poor's, as it undertakes a broad investigation into the actions of a number of parties in the lead-up to the financial crisis.

Bloomberg also reports that UBS is slowing down its commodities recruitment drive, putting on ice places to hire 15 of the 30 staff it planned to bring in to the unit this year.

Jean Bourlot, the global head of commodities, told the news agency last week: 'There is no way we are going to go on a hiring spree. I don't think that the talent pool is that big. People that are good are really expensive. And we want to protect UBS shareholder value by not compromising'.

What is impressive, though, is that UBS has hired over 1,000 investment banking staff into Greater China (which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan) over the last 18 months, and it is an investment that appears to be paying off.

The firm recently ranked second overall in the first ever Institutional Investor China A stock research survey (having hired around 100 Mandarin speakers to help produce local-language research).


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