Barclays rebuilds Asian trading desk following spate of exits

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Barclays rebuilds Asian trading desk following spate of exits

Rahul Mani, a rates and FX trader who left Nomura back in 2017, has resurfaced at Barclays in Singapore as the British bank staffs up its Asian trading team following several departures. Mani started his new job earlier this month at director level, according to a source. He reports into Jerry Koo, head of EM rates trading for APAC, who joined Barclays in February. Barclays declined to comment on Mani's hire.

Mani is not the only recent trading recruit into Barclays in Asia. In June, Sagar Sambrani joined as an Asia FX options trader and Nagendra Pilli came on board as an Asian rates trader. Both men previously worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. 

Koo appears to be rebuilding the emerging markets desk after the exit of at least five FX and rates traders in Singapore and Hong Kong since the summer. As we reported last month, Deepak Sood, Barclays’ former Singapore-based head of offshore rates trading, has left the bank, as has Arnold Bengco, who was a director in the Asian non-deliverable forwards trading team. Their new destinations are unknown. Meanwhile, Barclays Asian rates trader Darren Zhang has joined Crescent Asset Management, and Rick Ho has moved to UOB, having been a rates and FX trader at Barclays in Hong Kong. The fifth trader who’s left Barclays is Hong Kong-based John Chung, who is now at RBC Capital Markets.

The new hires of Mani and Sambrani, however, appear to be part of wider Asian growth plans at Barclays. Chief Executive Jes Staley said in May that he wants Barclays’ corporate and investment bank (CIB) to selectively expand in Asia over the next two to three years. Asian growth is now critical to Staley’s ongoing efforts to increase his firm’s investment banking market share globally.

More specifically, the markets team within CIB wants to take on about 60 people (about a 10% to 11% rise over its current headcount), with a focus on FX trading in Singapore, and credit trading in Hong Kong, Stephen Dainton, head of global markets at Barclays, told Reuters in May.

Barclays’ CIB unit will be hiring both bankers and traders in Asia, although we understand that the bulk of these hires will be made toward the end of that period (i.e. 2021 onwards) and that the expansion is dependent on Barclays hitting global returns targets.

Last month chief executive Staley told the Financial Times that Barclays could one day re-enter Asian cash equities trading, a product it withdrew from in 2016 to focus on electronic execution-only services in cash equities as well as Asian derivatives and prime brokerage.

New Barclays recruit Mani began his banking career as an Asian rates and FX trader at Credit Suisse in 2006 and then joined Morgan Stanley as a VP in the same field in 2009. He moved to Nomura in 2011 in an ED-level macro-products trading role and switched to liquid-markets proprietary trading in 2014. Mani did not respond to a request to comment on his move, and he appears to have been out of the market since leaving Nomura in July 2017.

Image credit: Randy Fath, Unsplash

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