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Banking

Angela Liu hire gives Barclays a window into China

Barclays all but left Asia five years ago but is slowly returning to relevance in the region. The hire of Angela Liu from Deutsche Bank as its first China chief executive is a step in the right direction.

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Barclays announced on Monday the appointment of Angela Liu as its China country chief executive.

Usually, when a banker is elevated to such a senior position, there is a legacy to build on or rebuild, but not here. The position is a new one to the UK lender – and Liu will have a lot on her plate.

With a near-20-year career in banking, she has the pedigree. Most recently, she was head of Deutsche Bank’s China and Hong Kong institutional client group. Before that, she spent 17 years at Morgan Stanley in New York and Hong Kong, and served as chair of Morgan Stanley Bank International (China), a Zhuhai-based lender the Wall Street firm bought in 2006 and renamed.

Her Barclays role is different. Unlike HSBC and Standard Chartered, two UK banks steeped in China’s modern financial history and culture, Barclays has never played much of a function in Asia’s largest economy.

Of course, it does decent business with Chinese clients operating offshore. A key relationship for years was its close bond with China Development Bank.

The Beijing policy lender bought 3.1% of Barclays in 2007 to help finance its unsuccessful bid for ABN Amro.


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