The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Flemings: The search for a strategy

UK merchant bank Robert Fleming is in dire need of a good performance in 1996. It's unlikely to get one. With thousands of new employees hired in a bid to extend the global network, revenues have not grown fast enough to cover costs. Shareholders are restless. Charles Olivier reports

Privately owned UK bank Robert Fleming has had an awful year. In January, there were allegations of insider dealing. In June Bill Harrison, its head of investment banking, resigned. In August, there was an asset-management scandal at Jardine Fleming that led to the resignation of the Hong Kong-based investment bank's chairman, Alan Smith. No wonder John Manser, Flemings' previously unruffled chief executive, is beginning to look rather frazzled. Last month, shortly after announcing a management shake-up in the wake of the Hong Kong irregularities, he warned that the 120-year old bank might be forced to move out of London to avoid overzealous regulators.

The fireworks may not be over yet. Manser has called an emergency meeting of senior Flemings executives scheduled for later this month to discuss the progress of the globalization plan he launched in 1990. Over the past six years, Flemings has hired thousands of new employees in a bold bid to transform itself from an asset-management firm with a strong banking presence in Hong Kong into a global investment bank ­ or, as Flemings puts it, a global investment bank except in the US.

Revenues have failed to keep pace with the escalating costs involved.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree