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Barclays Targets Cross-Border Deals in Canadian Expansion

Barclays Capital, the investment- banking arm of Barclays Plc, is building up its operations in Canada to target more cross-border deals, said Canadian Chairman Michael Wilson.

“The clients are looking more outside Canada than they ever had before,” Wilson, a former Canadian finance minister and ambassador to the U.S., said in an interview. “Our sweet-spot is going to be the cross-border activities.”

Those activities will include sales and trading, mergers and acquisitions, foreign exchange and other investment-banking activities, Wilson said. Barclays, which has 45 employees in Toronto and 20 in Calgary, also plans to hire more analysts.

“We don’t have enough on the ground on the research side to support the sales and trading,” Wilson, 73, said. “That’s something that’ll come with the build-out that we’re working on right now.”

Barclays unveils its Toronto office at Bay Adelaide Centre, one of the city’s newest office towers, at an event today. Barclays Capital opened an office in Toronto in 2007, according to its website.

Barclays hired Wilson and former RBC Capital Markets Deputy Chairman Bruce Rothney to run the Canadian operations in May. Wilson, a former chairman of UBS Canada, was the Canadian ambassador in Washington from 2006 to 2009. Rothney, who was appointed country head, joined Royal Bank of Canada in 1991.

“This is a firm on the move,” Wilson said. “We have been quietly expanding this past year and that is going to be noticeable as we go into 2011.”

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