Barclays appoints Nick Wright to head Asia equities

He replaces Mike Di Iorio, who the bank says is relocating to London for personal reasons.
Nick Wright
Nick Wright

Barclays is moving Nick Wright from Tokyo to Hong Kong to become head of equities for Asia-Pacific, according to an internal memo. He is replacing Mike Di Iorio, who is relocating to London for “personal reasons”.

Wright will keep his current responsibilities as head of markets for Japan and head of rates Australia trading, and will join Barclays’ equities executive committee.

He joined Barclays in October 2011 as head of global markets for Japan, so his move into equities is a surprise. However, he has a broad background. He has worked in trading positions at Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, and, according to the memo, has also managed a portfolio of companies, including co-founding and managing a long-only Australian equity fund.

Di Iorio joined Barclays from Nomura in 2010, at a time when the bank was rapidly expanding its equities business in the region.

That remains the strategy under its new transformation plan, which has identified immediate priorities of shrinking its European retail branch network and re-positioning its equities and investment banking operations in Asia and Europe, as well as focusing on the mass-affluent segment.

The bank said in its latest results announcement that it had incurred around $800 million of costs from its reorganisation during the first quarter and that it expects to recognise another $800 million during 2013.

Aside from all that, the equities business performed relatively well thanks to an improvement in global equity markets “driven by increased market confidence, strong inflows and market share gains”, the bank said at the time. Income from equities and prime services increased 19% to $1.15 billion across businesses in the US, Asia and Europe.

The Asia ex-Japan research business, which the bank launched in 2011, has also been rising up regional rankings and has now broken into the top 10, according to one survey.

“I want to thank Mike for the significant contribution he has made to equities in Asia-Pacific,” says the memo, which is signed by Joe Corcoran, Barclays’ head of equities. “The franchise’s continued client and revenue growth, highlighted by its excellent first quarter in 2013, is a testament to his leadership, vision and ability to execute.”

The more modest 8% gain in investment banking income was also driven by the equity side of the business, the bank said, though the ECM franchise in Asia is presumably not a big part of that.

Wright reports to Harry Harrison, head of prime services, rates, securitised products and municipals trading, for his Tokyo and Australia responsibilities, and Corcoran, for his equities role, and locally to Robert Morrice, chairman and chief executive for the Barclays group in Asia-Pacific.

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