Barclays Investigating Singapore Private Banker After Firing

Barclays Plc dismissed a Singapore-based private banker and is helping authorities investigate potential wrongdoing affecting clients’ assets.

The banker was fired on Feb. 6 and the company is working with the white-collar crime investigation agency of the Singapore police force to probe the matter, according to Eugenia Koh, a Singapore-based spokeswoman for Barclays.

The British bank dismissed Jagdish Kale, who handled accounts of non-resident Indian customers, for alleged misuse of client money, Singapore’s Business Times reported today. Koh said a “very small number of clients” were affected, without specifying the amount of funds involved.

Kale, who was hired from UBS AG in 2010, declined to comment immediately when contacted on his mobile phone and he didn’t answer subsequent calls.

“We have notified the relevant authorities and are working closely with them to expedite investigations,” Koh said in an e-mail. The bank has hired an external forensic team for its own investigations, and affected customers are being compensated, she said. The case involves an “isolated banker” and London-based Barclays has taken measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring, she added.

Kale and two other UBS bankers joined Barclays three years ago as part of efforts to build South Asian assets. The wealth management unit has the largest team globally serving South Asian millionaires, with more than 30 private bankers, Kale’s former boss Vikram Malhotra said in an interview last month.

Assets under management at the division have doubled every year since 2010, and it plans to increase them by 40 percent annually over the next two years, said Malhotra, the global head of the unit serving clients from the region, without disclosing the current total. Indians living abroad make up the unit’s largest customer group, he said.

The wealth division globally managed 186 billion pounds ($283 billion) in assets at the end of December, according to its website.

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