Barclays Hires No. 1 Japan Equity Strategist Hajime Kitano

Barclays Plc hired former Morgan Stanley Japan equity strategist Hajime Kitano to bolster research in the world’s best-performing major stock market.

Kitano joined the U.K. bank in Tokyo today, Kazutoshi Ohkubo, head of equities at Barclays Securities Japan Ltd., said in a phone interview. Kitano, who left Morgan Stanley in August after about three months, was rated No. 1 equity strategist in Japan this year by Institutional Investor magazine.

Barclays plans to hire about eight people for Japan equities by the end of the year to boost sales and trading operations, Ohkubo said in July. The London-based bank joins Bank of America Corp. and UBS AG in bolstering Japan equity staff after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s stimulus efforts drove the benchmark Topix Index’s 30 percent gain this year.

“We’ve been expanding equity research in Japan with this stocks rally,” Ohkubo said. “There should be a multiplier effect having both talented analysts and a strategist to meet strong demand from our customers.”

Before his brief stint at Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities Co., Kitano spent seven years at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Japan from 2006, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

His appointment fills a year-old vacancy at Barclays that was left after strategist Fumiyuki Takahashi’s departure, Ohkubo said. Barclays also hired former Deutsche Bank AG banker Jiro Mikami as a director of Japanese equity derivative products in July, according to Ohkubo.

Job Cuts

The bank’s Tokyo hiring comes even as it executes plans announced in February to eliminate 3,700 jobs worldwide this year to reduce costs.

The Topix rose 1.1 percent at the close of trading in Tokyo today. The gauge has climbed this year as Abe pushes to revive the world’s third-largest economy with fiscal spending and monetary easing.

Separately today, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said it named Douglas Howland to head equity distribution for Japan, a new post at its brokerage unit in the country. Howland previously led capital markets operations in Japan, the New York-based bank said in an e-mailed statement.

UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, said in July it hired seven Japan equity sales and trading staff. Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit recruited six people for Japan equities, the U.S. Bank said in a memo in June.

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