R.J. O’Brien Taps Mark Donlon to Lead New Swaps Desk

Based in New York, he becomes executive director, interest rate swaps.

Chicago-based R.J. O’Brien & Associates (RJO), an independent futures brokerage and clearing firm in the United States, today announced that industry veteran Mark Donlon has joined the firm to head up a newly established over-the-counter (OTC) swaps sales and trading desk.

Initially focused on U.S. dollar interest rate swaps, the desk will expand on the services provided to existing RJO institutional clients as well as introduce new clients to the firm, according to the announcement.

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Based in New York and reporting to RJO chief sales officer Dan Staniford, Donlon was named executive director, interest rate swaps.

He has a nearly 30-year career in OTC and listed derivatives with a specialty in fixed income sales and trading at some of the world’s largest financial institutions.

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Donon built and ran large global interest rate swaps businesses for Citigroup Global Markets and RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) Securities (now NatWest Markets Securities) and was a key player in establishing and leading the rates swap execution facility (SEF) at GFI Group.

Building out the new swaps desk

“Mark is an outstanding addition to our team. He is ideally suited to lead our first foray into the interest rate swaps market, which will be a great complement to our existing institutional fixed income futures and options services. As this business has evolved and matured, many of our clients have expressed interest in our ability to provide them with a swaps offering. We have some of the most highly regarded interest rate futures brokers in the business, and our new desk will offer them a powerful new tool to broaden their investing and hedging capabilities on behalf of our clients. Mark’s extraordinary relationships in the industry will also introduce new clients to the firm, who likewise will then have access to our deep futures expertise,” Staniford said.

“I’m excited to establish and build out this new swaps desk for one of the world’s premier futures firms. There is a natural synergy that will enable us to leverage RJO’s strong global franchise with a robust OTC offering. We’ll work hand-in-hand with RJO global institutional brokerage teams, as well as bring new clients into the firm through independent sales efforts, with the ability to trade and support sophisticated market participants around the clock. While we intend to focus initially on U.S. dollar interest rate swaps, we expect to branch out over time into other G10 currencies and OTC derivatives including options,” Donlon added.

The company said that the new desk will initially support on-SEF and off-SEF activities, block trades and basis trades, as well as cleared swaps at CME Group and the London Clearing House (LCH).

R.J. O’Brien & Associates

Founded in 1914, the firm is serving more than 80,000 institutional, commercial and individual clients globally, in addition to a network of approximately 300 introducing brokers (IBs). RJO services an expansive global network of IBs, a vast array of middle market firms and many of the world’s largest financial, industrial and agricultural institutions.

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