CO-HEAD OF GLOBAL MARKETS
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People in Finance Magazine
Over the past 25 years, John Gallo has had a very successful career in the global financial markets. He has held senior executive positions developing client franchise at some of the largest investment banks including Lehman Brothers, Citi, and Deutsche Bank, and is one of the few executives who performs in the areas of trading, structuring, sales, product development, and business management. These abilities led John to attain the coveted title of managing director at one of youngest ages in the financial services industry. In addition, John has served on several important corporate and philanthropic boards, where his influence has reached beyond the financial markets.
In 2017, John joined BNP Paribas, a leading international bank that operates in 68 countries, to become co-head of Global Markets Americas (GMA). His goal was to position BNP Paribas as a premier bank in the Americas, aligning with their strong profile in the rest of the world. Over the past few years, BNP Paribas has grown through a focused strategy and expansion of their product offering. This year, in order to steer the continued expansion of the bank’s client franchise worldwide, John took on the additional role of global head of institutional sales.
John recently met with us to share more about the growth and culture of BNP Paribas in addition to a bit about himself.
Why is BNP Paribas known as “the bank for a changing world?
BNP Paribas is truly a global bank, and it continues to expand its business across asset and wealth management, insurance, and retail, corporate, and institutional banking. We’re a leader in Europe, have a very strong business in the Asia-Pacific region, and we are now growing in the Americas. We’ve scaled in a way that helps all clients—individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporates, and institutions—to realize their potential through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings, hedging, and protection insurance. In addition, we are a leader in sustainable finance and diversity and inclusion.
What is involved in your role as Co-Head of Global Markets Americas?
My responsibilities vary from day to day. I work with a large group of highly intelligent and driven people, who collaborate to create value for the largest and most sophisticated institutions and corporations in the world, and I enjoy that diversity.
How long has BNP Paribas been in the U.S. and how are national clients serviced?
We’ve had a presence in the U.S. since the late 1800s. We also own Bank of the West, which serves over two million individuals and small businesses through its network of 600 branches and business centers. Large corporate and institutional clients are serviced by BNP Paribas’ CIB franchise, which has a presence in many metropolitan areas.
How is BNP Paribas’ growth in the U.S. critical to the company’s vision?
We are already a clear leader in Europe, and strong in Asia and Latam. We recognize that one of our largest growth opportunities is in the U.S. and it is critical to be a real competitor on the world stage. In fact, our goal is to become a top player in global markets by 2025.
Can you explain BNP Paribas’ Corporate and Institutional Banking (CIB)?
Our CIB franchise is a globally recognized leader across 56 countries, and we offer capital markets, securities services, financing, treasury, and advisory solutions to roughly18,000 corporate and institutional clients. The global markets business, which I help lead, offers investment, hedging, financing, and market intelligence across all asset classes. Our banking activities and offerings for corporations include trade and treasury solutions, debt and specialized financing, strategic advisory, M&A, and equity capital markets. The securities services group provides clearing and custody services, asset and fund services, corporate trust services, and market and financing services.
How has BNP Paribas responded to the growth and transformation of global markets?
Selective investments in the GMA platform and the client-centric strategy implemented over the past three years have enabled us to take advantage of exceptional client activity and volatility. For example, in 2019 we signed a deal to assume Deutsche Bank’s global prime finance and electronic equities business and clients. As a result of this, other investments, and organic growth, GMA delivered a record performance in 2020, outperforming all competitors in terms of market share gains, including U.S. banks. Most recently, BNP Paribas announced its plans to acquire the equities research platform, Exane, which will also significantly strengthen our equity franchise.
What else sets BNP Paribas apart from other large-scale banks?
ESG (environmental, social, and governance) is at the core of everything we do, and we are a recognized leader in sustainable finance. We have also maintained a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, it’s a very collegial place to work and whether you are a seasoned executive or just out of college, we make sure everyone has an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way.
Is the market changing as investors become increasingly more focused on ESG?
Yes, it definitely is. The market is continuously evolving, with more measurable and transparent criteria when it comes to ESG. The sustainable finance market continues to grow exponentially. BNP Paribas was the Number One underwriter of green and sustainable bonds and sustainable-linked loans (SLLs) globally in 2020, and we continue to see growing demand. That’s something I’m very proud of.
What are BNP Paribas’ ambitions for the future?
We plan to continue growing in the Americas to become a leading provider in global equities across cash, financing, and derivatives, to complement our fixed income strength. Our CIB strategy of becoming a full equity house will make us stronger in M&A and ECM as well. Our announcements involving Deutsche Bank and Exane exemplify the bank’s ambition to become a global equities powerhouse. We are also pursuing ambitious growth strategies in various EM markets, including LATAM. For example, we recently officially obtained a banking license in Mexico.
How do you spend your time outside of your day job?
I’m so glad you asked this. Over the years, I have served as a board member on a number of corporate and philanthropic organizations. For example, I’m currently chair of the finance committee at The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine, a wonderful private school in Manhattan. My sister and I recently endowed a scholarship program at Columbia University, in memory of my nephew who is unfortunately no longer with us.
What are you most proud of?
There is absolutely no question, my three amazing children. My two daughters, Annabelle and Jocelyn, and my son, Griffin. Each in their own way, are the most incredible human beings, and I could not love or be prouder of them.
Co-head of Global Markets
LinkedIn: John Gallo, BNP Paribas