* PROFILE: TIM THROSBY
By Steve Slater
LONDON, April 7 (IFR) - Barclays' new corporate and
investment bank boss has told staff he wants them to start
taking more risk and has set up a new unit aiming to "sweat our
The message to staff in recent weeks from Tim Throsby has
been clear: years of restructuring and apologising for past
mistakes are over and returns and efficiency need to improve to
cement Barclays' position as the leading challenger to US bulge
Throsby, a 50-year-old Australian poached from JP Morgan, in
January started one of the biggest jobs at Barclays: running its
new international business.
That includes the investment bank, corporate banking and its
overseas credit cards and payments. It accounts for two-thirds
of the bank's revenues and profits.
Throsby has worked at some of the biggest financial firms,
including Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Citadel and JP Morgan,
in most of the world's major financial centres – Tokyo, Hong
Kong, New York and now London.
But even after heading JP Morgan's equities business for the
past four years, running Barclays International is a step up.
The division has 36,900 staff and £650bn of assets.
Throsby is far from a conventional banker, according to
people who know him.
He started his career as a trader and has specialised in
running equity derivatives and had a brief spell out studying
law at Oxford University.
The father of six is a strong supporter of gay rights and is
renovating a famous homestead in New South Wales that was built
for an ancestor 180 years ago, which he admitted wasn't an
economically sensible move.
Throsby will see familiar faces at Barclays from his six
years at JP Morgan. Seven of the British bank's most senior
bankers are alumni of its US rival, including Jes Staley, the
former head of JP Morgan's investment bank who took over as
Barclays CEO in December 2015.
Indeed, when Barclays announced in September it had lured
Throsby, JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon called Barclays chairman
John McFarlane, according to industry sources. Dimon is reported
to have called for the poaching to stop. Further details of the
conversation were not known, but it was largely irrelevant -
Throsby was the last piece of the top team Staley was putting
Among the other JP Morgan alumni he joins are finance
director Tushar Morzaria (who preceded Staley), chief operating
officer Paul Compton and chief risk officer CS Venkatakrishnan.
Dimon can at least console himself that Barclays wants some
of what JP Morgan does; one of Throsby's main tasks is to sell
more investment bank products to corporate clients, an area
where the US bank has been more successful than rivals.
Throsby is also in charge of other areas where he has less
experience - but which may command early attention.
They include a US credit card arm that grew 14% last year
and where the bank has hinted it could expand through
acquisitions; a German "challenger" credit card; a major UK and
European payments business; and a private bank that has gone
through a difficult period and been cut back.
In early townhalls and meetings with staff Throsby has told
them to be less risk-averse, people familiar with the matter
have told IFR.
It is a nuanced message, however. He’s not raising risk
limits, but Throsby has said traders and bankers are often
significantly underutilising their limits after years of being
in “survival mode”.
That echoes comments from Staley, and the pair are confident
Barclays can challenge the big five US investment banks in areas
it chooses to fight. Staley has slimmed down the investment bank
and focused it on the two "home" markets of Britain and the US.
Throsby plans to juice up returns with a new unit managing
capital and financial resources. The unit, called Financial
Resource Management (FiRM), may seem like an internal redesign,
but Throsby told staff it is a significant change.
Likely to include 30-50 staff, it will help with structuring
and financing activity. Headed by Art Mbanefo, who joined
Barclays' investment bank in 2009 and was most recently head of
markets in Europe and Asia, it will deal with complex aspects
involving capital, leverage, risk weighted assets, funding and
tax. (see story opposite)
The plan, Throsby has told staff, is for the bank “to sweat
our assets better”. By assets, he means people, the balance
sheet, stress measures, technology, and more.
LABOUR OF LOVE
Barclays will be Throsby's seventh major financial firm,
which has seen him work closely with some big names. They
include former Barclays boss Bob Diamond at Credit Suisse, where
Throsby also sat next to Brady Dougan.
Throsby joined JP Morgan in April 2010 as head of equity
derivatives, and two years later was promoted to head of
equities. He successfully built up its cash equities and
electronic trading platform, where it had lagged rivals Morgan
Stanley and Goldman Sachs.
His career in finance began as a trader at Macquarie,
straight after studying economics at the University of Sydney.
From there he went to Credit Suisse, and joined Goldman Sachs in
1995 as co-head of equity derivatives for Asia and Japan, before
moving to Lehman Brothers in 2002, running its global equity
derivatives business from 2004. A year later he was lured to
Citadel by Ken Griffin to run its Asian business from Hong Kong,
but left in November 2008 when the firm cut back in Asia.
Throsby took some time out and moved to Britain, where three
of his children were at school, and went to Oxford to study law,
which he’d always been interested in and had experienced in his
finance career. He cut the course short when Dimon came calling.
Throsby has indicated his globetrotting is likely to end in
Australia. Two years ago he and his Australian wife invested
A$3.8m (US$2.86m) on Throsby Park, which was built in 1834 for
one of his ancestors.
"There's nothing economically sensible about this. It's a
labour of love on our part," Throsby told Australian newspaper
The Sun-Herald at the time.
"The plan for us now is to spend time turning it into a
comfortable family home and we'll move back here in a few years
to live in it," he said.
(This story will appear in the April 8 issue of IFR Magazine;
Reporting by Steve Slater)