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BarCap hires fierce critic

BARCLAYS Capital (BarCap) is to hire a trio of Citigroup analysts, including one with a record of issuing notoriously bearish notes on the investment bank&rsquo;s parent company, as it marches on with its hiring spree.<br /><br />Tom Rayner, a banking analyst with Citigroup, will join BarCap&rsquo;s European equity research team, in a move that will raise eyebrows given some of his previous comments on the group.<br /><br />In October 2007, Rayner criticised Barclays for failing in its bid to buy ABN Amro, the Dutch bank that later brought Royal Bank of Scotland to its knees.<br /><br />&ldquo;We have consistently argued that an over-reliance on Barclays Capital represented a risk for Barclays&rsquo; earnings outlook,&rdquo; Rayner said at the time, in a note to clients.<br /><br />Just a few months later, in spring 2008, he said the bank was &ldquo;in denial&rdquo; over the scale of writedowns, given its portfolio of troubled assets.<br /><br />Later that year he was similarly pessimistic about the bank&rsquo;s prospects, predicting &ldquo;significant writedowns&rdquo;.<br /><br />However, the appointment is not that surprising in the context of Barclays&rsquo; history with independent thinking analysts.<br /><br />Terry Smith, now chairman of Tullett Prebon and Collins Stewart, won fame while at Barclays&rsquo; former investment banking division BZW, issuing a &ldquo;Sell&rdquo; note on the bank, which he said &ldquo;could not lend money without losing it&rdquo;. The controversy over this helped make Smith&rsquo;s name.<br /><br />Rayner will be joined by Citigroup colleagues Simon Samuels and Jeremy Sigee, BarCap is set to announce in the coming days.<br /><br /> <!--StartFragment--><strong> RAYNER ON BARCLAYS</strong><br /><br /><strong>Barclays (BARC.L)</strong><br />&ldquo;We have consistently argued that an over-reliance on Barclays Capital represented a risk for Barclays&rsquo; earnings outlook&rdquo;&nbsp;&ndash; October 2008<br /><br />&ldquo;With credit market conditions continuing to deteriorate globally, we believe it is simply a matter of time before further significant writedowns are taken.&rdquo; &ndash; June 2008<br /><br />&ldquo;Although structured credit losses (are) as guided and are&nbsp;expected to improve in 2009, a significant deterioration in&nbsp;bad debts is anticipated.&rdquo; &ndash; February 2009