Barclays’ Asia Business Gain Momentum

According to its top regional executive, Barclays Plc, which has made significant investments in India and Australia and established a subsidiary in Taiwan, is considering expanding into other areas but is presently concentrating on strengthening its franchises.

After a global restructuring in 2016, which had a significant negative impact on its operations in the region and resulted in job losses, market exits, and the closure of its Asian cash-equities section, the British lender has been working to rebuild its Asian business.

“For now, we have our hands full. The macroeconomic environment is also not one that really favours aggressive investment at this point in time,” Jaideep Khanna, who heads Barclays’ Asia Pacific business said in a recent interview.

“Are we done with investing and building a platform? Absolutely not. So what compelled us to go into Australia and Taiwan may in the future require us to go into new markets, but I don’t see that happening in 2023,” Khanna said.

Over the past two years, the bank has added approximately a dozen top executives to strengthen its investment bank, markets division, and private banking business, which mostly serves corporate and institutional clients in Asia.

“The firm’s position is that Asia presents an opportunity. We, as a business within the Barclays framework, are accretive to the firm and have delivered over the last three years,” noted Khanna, who also serves as Barclays’ India CEO.

Despite being the smallest corporate and investment bank in Asia among 12 international banks in the six months leading up to June, Barclays stated, citing information from industry watchdog Coalition Greenwich, the bank experienced the largest revenue increase of 28%. Khanna, who is in Singapore for Barclays’ premier Asian summit, believes that there is room for the bank to grow in Australia and India thanks to recent investments and a positive outlook for dealmaking in both nations.

He emphasised the bank’s record-breaking investment banking operations in the nation by saying, “India has been for the region and for Barclays in the region, very strong,”

The expansion aspirations of conglomerates, the government’s push for infrastructure, and activity from buyout companies may cause M&A transactions in India to stagnate for a few quarters before picking up.

“There is confidence in the India opportunity,” he added. The economy of India expanded by 13.5 percent from April to June, the quickest rate in a year. In this year’s multibillion-dollar agreement for the purchase of Holcim’s cement operations by the Indian conglomerate Adani Group, Barclays was one of the three lead underwriters.

After joining Barclays in 2001, Khanna, the only regional CEO of a multinational bank with an Indian base, assumed the position in 2017. Barclays announced a $400 million investment in its Indian division last year. Barclays’ global services centre is located there, and it employs more than 21,000 people, the second-highest number of people outside of Britain.

Khanna stated that Barclays would strengthen its relationship with Barrenjoey Capital Partners, a boutique investment banking firm in Australia, where it nearly increased its position to 18.2 percent this year.

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