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Barings men quit in strategy row

TWO senior directors at ING Barings have quit following disagreement with the bank's Dutch parent over strategic direction.

James Lupton, deputy chairman of Baring Brothers International, the bank's developed markets corporate finance business, and Simon Borrows, head of corporate finance, have both resigned their posts. Mark Burch and Charles Irby, both experienced corporate financiers at the bank, will replace them with immediate effect, ING Barings said last night.

ING Barings added that both Mr Lupton and Mr Borrows would work with the bank over the next few weeks "to ensure a smooth completion of existing client arrangements".

Mr Lupton and Mr Borrows are understood to have taken part in lengthy discussions with the bank's top management in recent months over the future direction of the corporate finance department.

According to banking sources, ING wanted to integrate Baring Brothers International with other parts of its European investment banking business.

This was said to have been vigorously opposed by Mr Lupton and Mr Borrows, who were both committed to retaining Baring Brothers International as an independent advisory house.

ING has recently undertaken a review of its entire investment banking activities.