Barclays Capital made a major commitment to Canada on Friday by landing rainmaker Michael Wilson and star deal maker Bruce Rothney as leaders of its domestic investment bank.
Mr. Wilson, former Ambassador to the United States and federal Finance Minister, is stepping up as the new chairman of Barclays Capital Canada, reprising a role that he played to rave reviews for UBS Canada prior to moving to Washington in 2006.
Mr. Rothney will be the head of Barclays Capital in Canada, joining the firm after a 20 year stint at RBC Dominion Securities. Mr. Rothney was most recently deputy chairman of the investment dealer arm of Royal Bank of Canada, and Mr. Wilson also worked at the firm earlier in his storied career.
Expansion in Canada comes as Barclays emerges as a global powerhouse in the wake of the 2008 market meltdown that saw the London-based firm buy the U.S. operations of bankrupt Lehman Brothers. The firm's deft footwork in the wake of the crisis by an executive team that includes Canadian-born president Jerry del Missier convinced the two financiers to join.
"I was plugged into the crisis from Washington, and I watched how Barclays' combination with Lehman took shape. They've made tremendous progress, and I came to like their people, and respect their client focus," said Mr. Wilson, who stepped down last year as Ambassador.
"Barclays fuses Europe, Asia and America in a unique way, and the future of Canadian companies is increasingly tied to their ability to operate in global markets," said Mr. Rothney. He said: "At Barclays, we have an opportunit to bring the world to Canada, and Canada to the world."
These two high-profile hires are the latest in a string of expansion moves by global banks in the Canadian market. UBS Securiites has been steadily building its Toronto-based equity team, and J.P. Morgan recently added Calgary-based investment bankers to its energy trading team in Alberta.
The moves are also part of a larger Canadian expansion at Barclays, with the firm currently building both an equity and fixed income sales and trading desk in Toronto to compliment global business lines.
However, Mr. Rothney said the decision to join the 23,000-employee investment bank was driven in large part by its expertise in foreign markets. Barclays is a global player in high-yield debt, risk management and Asian and European equities, areas where domestic investment banks are thin on the ground.
Priorities for Mr. Rothney include expanding Barclays' coverage of Canadian financial institutions, telecom, media and technology companies.
"Michael and Bruce bring a unique combination of private and public sector experience to our Canadian franchise," said Mr. del Missier, Barclays Capital's president, in a press release. "Their leadership, management, client coverage and transaction experience will be of tremendous value to our clients and to our growing Canadian business."
The two newest members of Barclays Canadian executive team join Calgary-based Tim Kitchen, head of investment banking in Canada, and Toronto-based Sandra Godard, who holds the title of managing director and "senior relationship manager, distribution," which means she's the head of sales for the dealer.
Mr. Wilson was Finance and Industry Minster under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, then left politics to return to Bay Street in 1991, rejoining RBC Dominion at the same time Mr. Rothney landed at the firm after a stint at Goldman Sachs.
Mr. Rothney initially worked in equity capital markets, then co-founded RBC's telecom and tech banking team in 1992. He ran the investment bank's U.S. investment banking operations in the late 1990s, and was head of global investment banking from 2001 to 2004, when he took the deputy chairman role.
The former head of Barclays Canada, Lehman Brothers and BMO Nesbitt Burns veteran Geoffrey Belsher, was hired away by CIBC last year to head up its investment banking division.