Barclays names Harrison Asia corporate bank head

The British bank relocates Alexander Harrison to Singapore as it moves to grow corporate banking, having scaled back more capital intensive business lines in the region.

Barclays has appointed Alexander Harrison as head of corporate banking for Asia Pacific — a new role for the British bank as it moves to expand the business line in the region.

Harrison will relocate from Dubai to Singapore and will focus on supporting Asia Pacific companies and financial institutions. The bank is looking to expand its corporate banking team and said in a release that it is hiring corporate bankers in Asia. A spokesman declined to provide numbers.

Barclays' corporate banking expansion contrasts with a reduction in its investment banking head count. Barclays last year cut 100 jobs across investment banking and markets, or about 5% of its workforce from its investment bank in the Asia-Pacific region. At the time, a large proportion of the cuts were expected to come from the more capital-intensive side of the business such as commodities trading, swaps and derivatives.

In comparison, the corporate banking business — which comprises dull but sticky businesses such as trade finance and cash management — is less capital intensive, which is in line with Barclays' strategy to reduce its risk-weighted assets.

The bank will also be pushing to generate more corporate banking revenues from investment banking clients. “We will be talking to our investment banking clients who do very little in the way of corporate banking with us," said a bank source.

Increasingly, banks have focused on integrating their corporate banking and investment banking arms to generate more revenue through cross-selling.

In Asia, Barclays has corporate banking hubs in Singapore, India, Hong Kong and Japan and the bank said it plans to increase revenues significantly.

The UK-headquartered bank's key corporate banking markets are Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). To better facilitate trade between those markets and the Asia Pacific, Barclays has also set up specific India, China and Japan desks in the UK, and a China desk in Africa.

Harrison will report to Matt Tuck, head of global corporate banking at Barclays. He joined Barclays in 1998 and has held numerous senior positions including leading both the London and international debt finance teams.

In 2012, he relocated to Dubai in a role that expanded to the head of international debt finance for non-UK debt origination covering EMEA and India. He also served as a member of the senior leadership team for global credit products.


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