Dillon Read seeks stake

Wall Street analysts were quick to say that there was little reason for any ripple effect in the US markets from the Barings crisis. But the debacle is likely to have a longer term effect of intensifying interest from legislators in Washington in regulating the derivatives industry, and starting a re-examination of in-house controls at US investment banks.

The biggest immediate issue on Wall Street involves the future of Baring's 40 per cent stake in the investment bank Dillon Read.

The majority 60 per cent stake is held by 45 Dillon Read managers, and chief executive officer Fritz Hobbs said yesterday that he had already indicated to Baring management a desire to purchase the shares, and assume ownership of the privately held company.

"We have a right of first refusal on the Baring stake," Mr Hobbs said. He noted that the minority stake was probably worth more to the existing controlling shareholders than to a third party.

Mr Hobbs said that the collapse of Baring was "a wake-up call for everyone in the financial services industry", and would make managers look very hard at their internal controls. And shared the widely held view that the publicity over the Barings failure will encourage US legislators to look even more closely at regulating derivatives.

The past twelve months has seen a long list of derivatives related crisesand multi-billion dollar losses on publicly managed funds in California's Orange County.

Analysts expect some interest from US houses in some of the units to be sold off, notably the asset management division.

In New York yesterday Baring Securities Inc was open for business, and was conducting trades from its seat on the New York Stock Exchange.