Hambros trio dropped by corporate division

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HAMBROS, the merchant bank, yesterday parted company with three directors from its corporate banking division just 24 hours after warning that it would suffer a sharp fall in first-half profits.

Sir Adam Ridley, an executive director of the bank, said the departure of the three - Tom Boyce, David Arr and Thomas Tullberg - was unrelated to the profits warning and more to do with a refocusing of the corporate banking department.

The department has been devoting an increasing amount of resources to attracting private sector finance to projects previously dominated by the public sector. The three directors in question were said to have been more experienced in traditional corporate lending.

A bank spokeswoman said the timing of the directors' departure was unfortunate, given that it came so shortly after the profits warning. Their departure followed weeks of discussion about the corporate banking department's future strategy.

On Tuesday Sir Chips Keswick, the bank's joint deputy chairman, said the deterioration in first-half profits, in part due to the downturn in the bond market, would not be followed by an immediate clear-out of employees. 'I am certainly not going to rush off and fire people at the wrong end of the cycle,' he said.

Hambros said interim pre-tax profits would fall to pounds 18m- pounds 23m from pounds 41.1m a year ago. The warning came a day after a similar warning from SG Warburg.

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