Jason Radzik on BNP Paribas’ Growth, ION, FTX, and Industry Ethics

May 16, 2023

John Lothian

John Lothian

Executive Chairman and CEO

JLN spoke with Jason Radzik, managing director at BNP Paribas, at the 2023 FIA conference in Boca Raton in March about the company’s growth and acquisitions, the ION attack, and the consequences for the industry of the FTX collapse. 

Radzik said it is an exciting time for BNP Paribas, which won the Risk.net award for clearer of the year for the second year in a row. Radzik said the company has been taking advantage of the high volatility in the markets to grow, and it is growing the number of people on the team. 

“Interest rates are creating that volatility,” he said. “Clients are looking for Alpha, for new innovative products and access across the globe. That’s our wheelhouse, and our ambition is to become the top European bank for US clients.”

BNP has made some important acquisitions in the past several years, including taking over Deutsche Bank’s prime brokerage operations in a two-year migration, Radzik said. He came to BNP back in 2008 when it purchased the prime brokerage from Bank of America.

“One of our biggest competitors is now becoming part of our footprint,” he said of the Deutsche Bank acquisition. “What that has done for our business is there are so many synergies operationally, like cross margining between the two businesses. In creating a bigger footprint and establishing our commitment to our client base, which is very much overlapping, that has really helped us grow tremendously on the FCM side.”

JLN asked him how he and the company are adjusting to the recent ION attack. 

“I think this was a real wakeup call for the industry,” he said. “Number one, this could have happened to anybody. We all have some dependency on another firm or vendor or provider. While most of us escaped unscathed, like ourselves, it could have been the reverse just as easily.”  

He added that the ION attack has given the industry “the opportunity to step back and reassess one of the biggest risks we have today and in the foreseeable future. So governance will be established by the FIA committee to try to find best practices and lessons learned and share that across the vendor community. I think it will be invaluable.”

BNP would like to see a more robust standard from the CFTC and enforcement so people can be held accountable to make sure their cybersecurity is where it needs to be, he said.

JLN asked Radzik what he thought would come out of the FTX collapse.

“The client’s money was stolen and there needs to be a consequence for that,” he said. “I do expect there to be a consequence of significance, but we’ve seen this many, many years ago. 

Radzik added that his fear is that “we have short-term memories as human beings. We have to learn from these things but we also have to remember that what makes this market so great and what makes the derivatives community so great is its ethical foundation. It’s that ability to have an FIA group where we can all talk to each other in an ethical fashion and try to find ways to improve this industry.” 

He added, “When we see things that are done the wrong way, we can’t applaud that…Let’s applaud the people that we see here year after year giving their blood, sweat and tears to this industry to make it better.”

One example of that, he said, is the FIA’s new award, the FIA Hall of Fame, which celebrated a number of award recipients at FIA Boca, including Radzik’s friend Gary DeWaal. 

“Those are the things we need to celebrate. Those are the people that we need to applaud in this industry,” Radzik said. “And I think [at FIA Boca] we’ve gotten back to our roots this year, which is great to see.”

The questions we asked Jason Radzik were:

What is BNP Paribas working on?

Have your acquisitions helped you with your growth plans?

How are you adjusting to the ION attack?

What do you think will come out of the FTX case?

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