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Barclays To Close Hong Kong Equity Desk

Barclays Capital Asia plans to close its Hong Kong equity derivatives trading desk and centralize all Asian trading in Tokyo, according to Dustin Kuo, head of index arbitrage trading in Hong Kong. "Hong Kong used to be a great hub but as turnover is down so much it really doesn't make sense when you're making more money outside of Hong Kong," he said. The operation will be moved to Tokyo to reduce costs, Kuo said, adding he will relocate to Japan next month.

"It makes sense to run their book out of Tokyo with just one back office," said a market official. He added that Barclays' equity derivatives team has shrunk over the course of the year, from about six staffers to two. Barclays' equity derivatives operation in Asia is spearheaded by Masahito Tatsumi, head of equity derivatives in Tokyo. Tatsumi declined comment.

Other houses, including Bank of America and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein have recently shut down their desks in Hong Kong. However, ING Financial Markets recently reestablished an equity derivatives operation in Hong Kong after pulling out during the height of the Asian crisis (DW, 5/26).

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