It's always good to have a big name on your advisory board - even if its a sometimes controversial political name: such a Anson Chan. Hong Kong's former chief secretary of administration of Hong Kong has joined Barclays' Asia Pacific Advisory Committee.

This panel was set up in May to provide the Barclays group with strategic advice on developments and future trends in Asia as it looks to continue its expansion in the region.

"I am delighted to be joining the advisory committee of such a well-established and innovative group as Barclays," says Chan. "I look forward to working with other distinguished members of the Committee to help the Group grow in ways that will make a difference to the people in our Region".

The committee is chaired by Sir Peter Middleton, former Barclays chairman, and has among its members former senior government ministers and business leaders from around the region and the UK.

"Barclays is fortunate to have secured the support of such a distinguished person as Dr Chan," comments John Varley, chief executive of Barclays. "Her knowledge and experience will provide valuable input to the successful growth of Barclays business, particularly in the dynamic Greater China region, where we see considerable opportunities for future expansion, building on the investment we have already made with the opening of new offices in Shanghai and Taipei last year."

"Growing our international businesses is a strategic priority for Barclays, and the Asia Pacific Advisory Committee will play an important role in helping us realise this goal," adds Robert Morrice, chairman and chief executive of Barclays Capital in Asia Pacific (and also a member of the advisory committee). He says that Barclays expects to see the investment banking industry in Asia expand at an annual rate of 15-20%.

Chan was the first Hong Kong Chinese chief secretary of the Hong Kong government, a post she retired from in 2001 after an almost 40 year career in the civil service. She is currently an honorary professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and an honorary fellow of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

She was also made commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1992 and awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal in 1999 to mark her contributions to Hong Kong. A frequent supporter of a faster-pace of democratisation for Hong Kong, she has at times clashed with pro-Beijing politicians in Hong Kong.

Other members of the Barclays Asia Pacific Advisory Committee include: Sir David Wright, vice chairman of Barclays Capital and formerly British Ambassador in Japan and in Korea. He acts as executive director and spokesman for the committee.

Richard Hu, a former cabinet minister and chairman of MAS and current chairman of CapitaLand in Singapore is on the committee, as is Piyush Mankad, former finance secretary for the government of India. Retired Honorary Francis Maude, British MP and former conservative minister; Maxine McKew, a journalist and political analyst from Australia; Han Seung Soo, former deputy prime minister and foreign minster of Korea; Yutaka Yamaguchi, former deputy governor, Bank of Japan; and Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, managing director YTL, Malaysia are all also on the advisory board.