Barclays on hiring spree in Japan after downsizing

TOKYO • Barclays is on a hiring spree to boost its investment banking and market operations in Japan, one year after it shut its cash equity business and downsized by cutting 120 jobs.

The British firm plans to hire more than 10 bankers and sales staff this fiscal year to advise on mergers and sell investment products, Barclays Securities Japan president Kentaro Kiso said in an interview. Mr Kiso, 50, has already added more than 30 people for investment banking and markets in Tokyo since he took over the post last July.

Mr Kiso has been rebuilding the British bank's Japan operations in an effort to boost revenue that fell after it withdrew from the struggling stock-brokerage business last year.

He is betting that Japanese companies will seek more acquisitions abroad and financial firms will buy more investment products as low interest rates depress returns on assets such as government bonds.

"We're in the process of lining up good people for investment banking, which could generate steady revenues," Mr Kiso said. "Japanese financial institutions are keen to make acquisitions overseas, such as asset managers or leasing assets."

Barclays, which has about 35 investment bankers in Tokyo, plans to recruit about five to advise on mergers and work with companies including financial firms, Mr Kiso said. It will also hire five to seven people to sell products such as equity derivatives to hedge funds, large banks and regional lenders.

Barclays eliminated about 120 positions in equity research, sales and trading in Tokyo by June last year, as part of cuts across Asia to slash costs globally to shore up earnings.  Headcount at the Japanese brokerage unit fell 27 per cent to 429 over two years to March 31, a regulatory filing shows. The firm - which also reduced office space in Tokyo's Roppongi Hills office complex - posted a loss of 8.7 billion yen (S$106.3 million) in the last fiscal year, the biggest in three years, according to the filing. Revenue fell 18 per cent to 39.4 billion yen.

Barclays was ranked 14th among advisers on mergers and acquisitions in Japan for the year ended March, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2017, with the headline 'Barclays on hiring spree in Japan after downsizing'. Print Edition | Subscribe