Barclays launches targets smaller trading firms in Hong Kong

The UK bank has teamed up with a number of professional services companies, such as law firms and accounting companies, to offer advice to their smaller end-user clients on issues such as treasury cash management, foreign exchange hedging or more complex derivatives transactions. Barclays also offers a bespoke banking service directly to larger international trading companies.

Barclays' new international banking department is manned by 10 front-office staff - a number that is expected to rise. International banking is part of the bank’s wealth management operation, which has about 60 staff altogether in Hong Kong. The group also has operational support of more than 1,000 staff in the bank’s Isle of Man and London offices.

"They’ll be looking at foreign exchange needs or setting up forwards contracts," says Katherine Morgan, the Hong Kong-based head of international banking in Asia-Pacific at Barclays. "We actually facilitate that through an internet platform where they can actually see live prices and book the deal directly themselves. It’s an innovation that clients find particularly useful." Interest rate hedges are often an area focused on, but clients often have much more complex demands. "As people are trading in different countries, they might need dual currency derivatives, or perhaps they may need to hedge against commodity prices, for instance," says Morgan. "For these, we get the support of our derivatives group and the specialists within Barclays Capital."

Barclays Capital is the bank's investment banking arm.

Morgan adds that these clients can conduct everyday transactions through the internet platform, which provides real-time access to market information and treasury dealing, and enables spot, fixed forwards and option-dated forwards contracts to be traded online.

“To date, these sections of the business community have been overlooked. Our presence here now changes that,” says Morgan.

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