Barclays Promotes Essaid as Dealmaking Unit Plans Hiring Spree

Barclays Promotes Essaid as Dealmaking Unit Plans Hiring Spree

Barclays Plc promoted Ihsan Essaid to help lead its global mergers-and-acquisitions team as the firm plans to add dealmakers and junior bankers in its quest for more market share. 

Essaid, who joined London-based Barclays last year from Credit Suisse Group AG, will lead the M&A team alongside Gary Posternack, according to a memo to staff. The two will have the task of hiring more bankers at all levels and building out a dedicated team of junior bankers within the unit, JF Astier and John Miller, global co-heads of investment banking, said in the memo. 

“Given the intensity of the M&A dialog right now and the need to be in constant dialog with clients, it was important to have some dedicated M&A resources that the senior M&A team can really use and leverage to make sure we continue to come up with new ideas and analysis for our clients,” Astier said in an interview. 

Barclays and many of its rivals started the year with record pipelines in their investment-banking businesses. In recent weeks, the pace of initial public offerings and large-scale mergers has slowed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threw markets and broader economies into chaos.  

A jump in investment-banking fees last year helped boost annual earnings at Barclays to a record. The firm’s M&A division also had a record year, trouncing its previous all-time revenue high by 25%, according to the memo. 

“We have a view that M&A activity, which picked up last year, is going to remain very high and very intense because of all the things happening around the world,” Astier said in the interview. “There isn’t a single one of our clients right now that isn’t reassessing their strategy.” 

Last year, Barclays added more than 60 managing directors and directors to its investment-banking division, which includes its advisory arm and underwriting divisions. Those moves helped the British bank rank No. 6 in M&A advisory globally and No. 5 in North America.

“In North America, our medium- to long-term goal is to get to the No. 4 spot, behind Goldman, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, and over the medium term we have those ambitions in Europe,” Astier said in the interview. “We have to be realistic in terms of how quickly we can get there. It takes time to acquire new clients in M&A. You have to invest in the relationship and build the trust, and idea generation is an important part of it. It’s not something you can do in a year or two.”

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