2010 Awards for excellence: Best Global flow house
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2010 Awards for excellence: Best Global flow house

The acquisition of Lehman Brothers gave Barclays Capital the momentum to become a clear global leader in the part of the business most investment banks are desperate to grow.

Awards for Excellence 2010
Best Global flow house: Barclays Capital
Also nominated: Deutsche Bank and RBS

During a period in financial markets riddled with uncertainty, one thing is clear: every big global investment bank is looking to increase the volume of its flow business.

"Flow" has become a buzzword almost in the same way that "client" has. The two are very closely related.

As banks scale back from proprietary business and capital-intensive products such as exotic derivatives as they look to de-risk their operations and worry about the impact of regulation on bank capital, doing more business with clients has come to the front and centre of their strategic focus.

And it’s flow – sales and trading of a broad range of asset classes including equities, rates, credit and commodities – that is by far the most profitable part of client business for most banks, and certainly for those with global scale and multi-asset capabilities.

Flow business requires low capital and can provide high returns for those dealing in sufficient volume.

Two banks stand out as the leaders in this sector – Deutsche Bank and Barclays Capital, the self-styled "flow monsters" of the global markets.

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