Barclays Hires Four for Foreign-Exchange Sales to Serve Lehman Customers

Barclays Plc hired four people for its foreign-exchange sales team in the Americas as the U.K.’s third-largest bank absorbs clients inherited from its 2008 purchase of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

Mike Testa joined Barclays as head of real-money foreign- exchange sales after 15 years at Citigroup Inc., according to a statement yesterday from the London-based company’s investment banking unit. Marlena Demenus will cover banks and commodity trading advisers following a 10-year career at Morgan Stanley, the statement said. James White from UBS AG and David Weiss of Deutsche Bank AG also joined Barclays.

“The acquisition of Lehman Brothers’ North American business provided an opportunity to compete for a client franchise equal to that of the large U.S. universal banks,” Greg Chow, head of North American currency sales at Barclays in New York, said in an interview.

Barclays purchased the U.S. division of Lehman Brothers after the New York-based bank filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008. It took over the investment banking, fixed-income and equities sales, trading and research units, operating them under the Barclays Capital name.

“2008 provided a lesson to many money managers, across asset classes, that the FX component of their portfolios was a source of risk and return that can no longer be managed passively,” Chow said. “The adoption of FX as an asset class, as a source of alpha or a hedge, with the equity managers is something that is actually quite strategic right now to the account base.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Oliver Biggadike in New York at obiggadike@bloomberg.net

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