Barclays in key hiring from rival

David Hellier
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BARCLAYS Capital has demonstrated its ambition to become a leading player in UK investment banking, hiring Mark Astaire, head of corporate broking, from rival Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Astaire, who is now on three months’ gardening leave, joins his former colleague Richard Taylor at BarCap, where he will be charged with driving the team further up the league tables. Taylor is head of investment banking for UK and Ireland.

BarCap, whose broking team includes former UBS star Jim Renwick, is already broker to eight FTSE 100 companies, including Resolution, British Airways owner IAG and Legal & General. In the past few weeks it won the brokership of Tullow Oil away from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Hoare Govett.

The team has won 26 mandates since March 2010 in its push to become one of the top three corporate brokers.

Corporate broking is not in itself a profit-driving business, but it is an activity that encourages long-term relationships with clients that often leads to other profitable opportunities such as M&A work.

Astaire, who is in his early 50s, and whose clients include BSkyB and Wm Morrison, will be vice chairman of investment banking for Europe and the Middle East. Formerly at Hoare Govett, Astaire has been at Merrill Lynch for seven and a half years.