Barclays Capital, the investment banking arm of Barclays, is on a hiring spree looking for another 100 bankers to build up its merger and acquisition activities as well as its European equities business.
Bob Diamond, the president of BarCap, has already recruited 140 bankers and traders to the investment bank since September, when the world's banking system came close to meltdown. Sources close to the bank said that 70 had been hired from competitors in the three months to December and another 70 since then.
"We are looking to build up our equities business throughout Europe with new teams for research, sales and trading. At the same time, we are hiring M&A bankers for our offices in Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt and Milan as well as London," said a spokesman.
The recruitment drive is part of Mr Diamond's strategy to build on BarCap's success in the US where it is now the biggest equities trader on the New York Stock Exchange, following its acquisition of Bear Wagner from JP Morgan last year. It is also second only to JP Morgan in US treasuries.
A BarCap source said Mr Diamond wants to replicate that success in Europe at a time when its competitors are suffering, building on its recent success in investment-grade debt and foreign-exchange markets where it competes with market leaders such as Deutsche Bank.
BarCap, which employs 10,000 people around the world, is also boosting its equity capital markets business, building up its team of research analysts and sales traders after the recent appointment of Jim Renwick from UBS to head equity capital markets.
The investment bank's rising profits were behind the first-quarter jump in results from Barclays, which reported a 15 per cent increase in profit last week. Overall, Barclays made a pre-tax profit of £1.37bn but profit from the retail and commercial bank fell to £586m. A third of BarCap's soaring profit rise came from Lehman Brothers – bought in September in a £1bn deal which Mr Diamond described as "transformational" – which helped BarCap's profit to shoot up to £907m, a rise of 361 per cent.
Shares in Barclays have now more than quadrupled over the last few months following its decision to stay out of Government hands, closing at 281p on Friday.
This good start to the year has also been experienced by rivals such as Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs but contrasted strongly with Lloyds Banking Group which issued a profits warning and confirmed that it will make a loss this year. Lloyds, which rescued HBOS last year, also confirmed that bad debts from its commercial property loans would rise sharply this year. RBS also reported losses of £857m for the first quarter and write-downs of £5bn.
Banking giant HSBC will give an update on trading with its interim management statement tomorrow.Reuse content