Barings' staff earn share in record profits

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The Independent Online
BONUS payments to staff contributed to a pounds 120m rise in operating expenses at Barings, the merchant banking group, which yesterday reported record profits of just over pounds 100m.

Peter Baring, chairman of the privately owned company, would not quantify the impact of bonuses, but he did say that 'a good part of our expenses relates to remunerating the people who work for us'. Staff numbers have risen to 3,439.

Expenses climbed from pounds 349.3m to pounds 469.1m. Mr Baring said staff costs typically represent about half of a merchant bank's expenses. He added that significant profit-sharing payments had been made throughout the group. 'It is imperative for us to remunerate competitively if we are to attract and retain good people,' he said.

Barings, which made pounds 21.3m in 1992, was helped by a strong recovery from Baring Securities, the overseas broking business that for a while made Christopher Heath, its former boss, Britain's highest-paid executive. Baring Securities is thought to have lost nearly pounds 20m in 1992, Mr Heath then leaving after a disagreement on future strategy.

Mr Baring said the broking business made a big contribution to 1993's profits, although less than half the total. He said that Baring Securities was much less dependent on Japan than before and that it did a great deal of business in other Asian and Latin American markets.

Baring Asset Management increased its funds under management by 42 per cent to pounds 31.5bn and made a much higher profit. 'All parts of the business have done well, both retail and institutional,' Mr Baring said.

The joint venture in derivatives trading with Abbey National moved immediately into profit. Abbey National Baring Derivatives only started up at the end of October, but Mr Baring said that it had made a useful contribution and that he expected it to be a 'very significant business'.

Baring Brothers, the banking and capital markets arm, contributed what Barings described as 'a major profits increase'. The group intends to bring Baring Brothers and Baring Securities together with a single London head office and a single management team headed by Andrew Tuckey, Barings' deputy chairman.

Dillon Read, the US investment bank in which Barings has a 40 per cent stake, also had a good year.