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[TOKYO] Barclays Plc 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 cut 120 jobs.
The UK firm plans to hire more than 10 bankers and sales staff this fiscal year to advise on mergers and sell investment products, Kentaro Kiso, president of Barclays Securities Japan Ltd, said in an interview.
Mr Kiso has already added more than 30 people for investment banking and markets in Tokyo since he took the post from Eiji Nakai last July.
Mr Kiso, 50, 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.
Recruits, Cuts Yuzo Otsuka joined the firm from Lazard Ltd in December as the head of mergers and acquisitions. Takeshi Inoue, former head of M&A at Citigroup Inc, was hired in October as head of the financial institutions group.
Barclays eliminated about 120 positions in equity research, sales and trading in Tokyo by June last year, Mr Kiso said.
The move was part of cuts across Asia as Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley sought 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, and the firm reduced office space in Tokyo's Roppongi Hills office complex. It posted a loss of 8.7 billion yen (S$106.43 million) 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 show.
Mr Kiso, a University of Tokyo graduate, joined Barclays in 2004 from JPMorgan Chase & Co and spent about eight years leading a team in Europe that advised public-sector clients on financing and risk management.
In 2012, EuroWeek selected Mr Kiso as one of the 25 most-influential debt capital market participants.
"There's no doubt that we're facing a shortage of people," he said.
"But it's a good opportunity to upgrade."