Barclays Said to Plan More Than 20 Hires at Europe Equities Unit

(Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc plans to recruit more than 20 staff this year to bolster its European equities trading business as Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley continues to back the investment bank while rivals retreat, according to two people familiar with the strategy.

The bank is searching for experienced traders and salespeople, as well as quantitative and product management specialists, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Barclays currently employs about 450 people in equities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to a person with knowledge of the industry, and the business is run by Rich Evans.

Staley recruited JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s global head of equities, Tim Throsby, to overhaul the corporate and investment bank, which had steadily lost revenue and market position to revitalized U.S. rivals. The future of the securities unit was uncertain under Staley’s predecessor Antony Jenkins, who publicly expressed concerns about its ability to generate sufficient returns. While Staley dismissed calls to spin off the investment bank, he’s still eliminated thousands of jobs and closed the cash equities business in Asia to refocus on London and New York.

A spokeswoman for Barclays declined to comment on the firm’s recruitment policies.

Equities chief Evans has already poached Simon Fickling, a chemical industry specialist, who joined from Exane BNP Paribas in February, the people said. Barclays lost three staff from its electronic sales and trading team earlier this year, and plans to replace them and any other departures in addition to the 20 new hires, they said.

European firms’ share of equities trading in 2016 fell to the lowest since the financial crisis, data from Bloomberg Intelligence show. However, in the fourth quarter, Barclays beat analysts’ estimates when it posted a 29 percent jump in equities trading income. This was offset by a disappointing 33 percent increase in fixed-income trading revenue, less than analysts expected and underperforming the average 43 percent surge reported by U.S. firms.

Barclays’s decision to add to its ranks of traders contrasts with retrenchment prevalent elsewhere in Europe. Deutsche Bank AG CEO John Cryan plans to cut as much as 17 percent of the bank’s equities-trading staff and 6 percent of fixed-income workers, a person familiar with the matter said in February, while Credit Suisse Group AG chief Tidjane Thiam has pledged to slash 6,500 jobs this year.

The number of full-time investment banking staff working globally in equity sales, trading and research has fallen 17 percent to 18,200 people in the past six years, according to a report from researcher Coalition Development Ltd.