Is Lloyds building an equities business?

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Surprise, surprise - according to various headhunters, Lloyds, the doyenne of the nationalised banking sector, is said to be building an equities business.

Rumour has it that the bank has brought in the services of Terry Murray, a former Bridgewell banker, as head of equity sales, and is looking to hire a team.

The bank didn't return a request for comment on its equities intentions, although the switchboard confirmed the presence of a Terry Murray in equities. However, when we phoned (twice), T Murray was not there and had no voice message.

Lloyds' apparent diversion into equities may come to nothing. George Osborne said today that he plans to break up banks that become too large, and the Bank of England is said to be toying with imposing a Glass Steagall-style division between commercial and retail banking.

"You have to question what they can add in this space. It's not like there aren't 50 other institutions out there trying to do the same thing," says one headhunter.