Barclays made an interesting Asian hire which suggests it's quietly on the lookout for talent

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Here’s proof that Barclays does still hire into its Asian front office

Not all of Barclays’ Asian hiring is in technology and operations. The UK bank, which has scaled back its Asian operations recently, is still sporadically taking on front-office staff in Hong Kong. Among its latest recruits in the city is structured lending specialist Nan Yang, who has joined at director level.

Yang previously spent two and a half years as a director in Credit Suisse’s Kowloon office, where he provided “structured lending solutions to major shareholders or corporates across the Asia Pacific region, with a focus on Greater China”, according to his online profile.

Now is arguably a good time to be exiting Credit Suisse in Asia. Revenues in the bank’s Asian advisory, underwriting and financing team fell 37% year on year in the fourth quarter, while revenues in its Asian markets unit tumbled 34%. Still, Credit Suisse is a regional powerhouse compared with Barclays. As CEO Tidjane Thiam pivots the business toward Asia, Credit Suisse has set up a stand-alone Asia Pacific division, is pushing for control of its China joint venture, and is tapping its vast wealth management business to sell IBD products to private clients.

Barclays, by contrast, has pared back its Asian operations to just four markets – Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and India – and is now focused on connecting these countries to its core UK and US businesses. In 2015, the British bank cut Asian equities jobs, and the following year it sold its Asian wealth unit to Bank of Singapore, and closed offices in second-tier markets like Indonesia and Malaysia. Thousands of jobs were lost in the process.

Still, Yang’s hire shows that Barclays’ investment bank in Hong Kong – which is based in the Cheung Kong Center, 17 floors below Goldman Sachs – does take on new senior people from time to time, especially in the current post-bonus recruitment season. Other recent Barclays hires include Nicolas Reille, the former head of global market sales and financial engineering in Asia at Natixis, who is expected to join Barclays' derivatives sales and distribution team later this year, reports Risk.net.

Barclays' local headcount budget still allows it to make “opportunistic” hires when good candidates enter the job market, says a Hong Kong-based headhunter. Yang appears to fall into this category.

Away from the front office, Barclays has been recruiting on a large scale in Asia. The British bank’s APAC headcount stood at 19,800 at the end of 2018, up by 2,600 people from a year previously. But most of these roles are in its new office in Pune, India, which will soon become one of its three global technology and operations hubs.

New Barclays recruit Yang worked for Macquarie from 2009 to 2016, latterly in a Hong Kong-based equity derivatives trading and structuring job.

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Image credit: ilbusca, Getty

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