Barclays’s Ginsburg Steps Down as Asia Investment Bank Head

Matthew Ginsburg, Barclays Plc’s Asia-Pacific head of investment banking, is stepping down from his role and considering senior posts within the U.K. bank outside the region, a memo obtained by Bloomberg News shows.

The firm named Andrew Jones, its Asia-Pacific co-chief executive officer, as interim investment-banking head until a successor is appointed, according to the memo. Timothy Cuffe, a Hong Kong-based Barclays spokesman, declined to comment. Ginsburg couldn’t immediately be contacted.

The search for Ginsburg’s replacement comes after the departure of his former bosses including Robert Morrice, Asia-Pacific chairman and CEO, and Hugh “Skip” McGee, global head of investment banking whom Ginsburg previously reported to. At least four managing directors of the unit in Asia left their roles since mid-April.

Chief Executive Officer Antony Jenkins revealed plans on May 8 to cut 7,000 investment-banking jobs globally as revenue from trading fixed income, currencies and commodities shrinks. That will bring the number of jobs to be cut across the firm by 2016 to 19,000, including the 12,000 the lender said in February it would eliminate this year.

Recent Departures

Barclays has seen several senior departures in recent weeks, including Jason Rynbeck, vice-chairman for mergers and acquisitions for the region, and Marc Benton, Asia-Pacific head of oil and gas investment banking. McGee stepped down as CEO of the Americas division last month. Hans-Joerg Rudloff retired as investment-banking chairman in February, and Larry Wieseneck, co-head of securities, is leaving at the end of June.

Ginsburg’s role change was reported by the Financial Times earlier today. London-based Barclays named Jones and Eiji Nakai this month as Asia-Pacific co-CEOs to replace Morrice.

Barclays hired Ginsburg in September 2009 from Morgan Stanley to expand investment-banking operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Ginsburg, a more than 13-year veteran at Morgan Stanley, subsequently hired former colleagues from the Wall Street firm including Ed King, who moved to California from Hong Kong to become Barclays’s executive chairman for global M&A earlier this year.

Barclays started M&A advisory operations in Asia in 2008 and began offering equity underwriting the following year. It then started building its investment-banking franchise and cash equities business in 2010 as part of a global expansion following the acquisition of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s U.S. operations.

Lower Fees

Fees for underwriting equities and bonds, as well as advising on takeovers, shrank 23 percent in the Asia-Pacific region from the beginning of 2011 through the end of 2013, according to New York-based research firm Freeman & Co. Such fees rose 23 percent in the U.S. in the same period and fell 6 percent in Europe, the data show.

In a Bloomberg interview in August 2011, Ginsburg said global investment banks are facing “very real competition” from Chinese securities firms, driving up hiring costs and spurring tighter competition for deals.

Globally, Barclays is mired in scandals from interest-rate rigging to selling insurance clients didn’t need. It has been focusing on cutting jobs, rebuilding relations with regulators and responding to shareholder pressure to curb bonuses.