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Barclays Capital bulks up investment banking

The UK investment bank takes the opportunity to build its capabilities and adds seven staff over the past few weeks, most recently Timothy Last in equity derivatives flow sales.

Barclays Capital continues to use the availability of talent to build its investment banking team, appointing Timothy Last as managing director and head of equity derivatives flow sales for Asia ex-Japan. His appointment follows the hire of a power investment banking team from Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BoA-Merrill) a few weeks ago.

Last also joins Barclays from BoA-Merrill and will be responsible for growing the firm's equity derivatives business with clients in Asia ex-Japan. He will be based in Hong Kong and will report to David Campbell, head of North Asia distribution, and to Nicholas Moreira, head of Asia-Pacific equities.

In a written statement, Campbell termed the hire "an integral part of the strategic build out of the firm's equity platform in Asia-Pacific, which is one of Barclays Capital's key priorities in the region this year".

Last is not a replacement hire, clarified a Barclays Capital spokesperson, rather this is a newly created position. He will be responsible for expanding the firm's equity derivatives flow client base, which includes institutional investors, asset managers, money managers and hedge funds (but not retail investors or private banks) and for enhancing client access to products. He will also be in charge of building a sales team in North Asia.

A specialist reckoned that Last's appointment is a move by Barclays Capital to win more institutional business, and said the firm has hitherto had a more retail-focused derivatives business.

Barclays Capital also clarified that it already has a well-established equity derivatives business across Asia ex-Japan and is in the process of creating capabilities for cash equities in the region, although Last will not be responsible for the cash equities business.

At BoA-Merrill, he was most recently managing director and head of equity derivatives sales for Asia-Pacific, based in Hong Kong. He spent the past five years with Merrill Lynch and, before that, worked at J.P. Morgan Chase and Macquarie.

Last's position at BoA-Merrill has not been refilled, sources said, as the team is currently being restructured under Soofian Zuberi who was promoted in February to head all sales activities across both equities and fixed income.

Last follows a team of ex-colleagues from BoA-Merrill which, according to sources, has also jumped ship to Barclays Capital. The team is lead by James Chapman, who was a director and head of power investment banking for Asia-Pacific at BoA-Merrill. He is accompanied by two vice-presidents, Ken Ng and Anoop Chaudry; two associates, Raymond Yu and Robert Smith; and an analyst, Brian Kelly. All six covered power investment banking at BoA-Merrill and are reportedly currently on gardening leave.

Chapman joined BoA-Merrill quite recently, in September 2008, from Lehman Brothers, along with a team of bankers.

Barclays Capital acquired Lehman's North America business in September and subsequently appointed Lehman banker Paul Parker as global head of M&A. It also appointed a number of Lehman bankers to lead worldwide sector coverage, including John Lange for power M&A and power corporate finance. Chapman now joins his former Lehman colleague Lange at Barclays Capital.

Barclays Capital had no comment regarding the power investment banking team and BoA-Merrill had no comment regarding either of the moves.

Barclays has opted not to take any government funding to tide it over during the financial crisis, choosing instead to raise capital from Middle Eastern investors. In the current environment, Barclays has had to pay dearly for the capital, but the bank has maintained that its decision to recapitalise through private investors and assets sales is driven by the need to retain operational freedom and be allowed to set strategic direction. But it is also a fact that the ability of Barclays to continue to pay bonuses, unlike for example another British bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, which announced in February that it will not pay any discretionary cash bonuses for 2008, helps immensely in attracting talent.

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