He has a surname that is curiously appropriate for the world of financial services, and it certainly reflects his feelings about the region. Indeed, this has been a busy year for Justin Bull, regional head of sales for Barclays Capital.

Bull was transferred to the region nine months ago. In the year to date he has added around 30 to his salesforce in the region (including Japan).

"Barclays Capital spent 1998 to 2002 building the European business," says Bull. "Then between 2001 and now it built in the US, and six months ago we started building Asia much more aggressively."

He says there is a logic behind this: "You've got to start getting it right in Europe and the US before you start to try and get it right in Asia. Plus the Asian markets are now a hot topic. Japan is coming out of recession, and it now has a curve that is tradable for the first time in five years. So our hiring reflects the fact that you have Asia at an inflexion point."

A number of key changes have occurred at Barclays Asian business. In March, Steve Weller joined as head of foreign exchange, based in Singapore. And in June, Akiko Kashima joined as head of foreign exchange for Japan. David Shannon joined as head of rates, and Eric Slighton joined as head of credit derivatives.

Most recently Lutfey Siddiqi was given the newly created role of heading Asian corporate foreign exchange - having been transferred from London where he was global head of forex structuring. Daniel Lee was also promoted to head the regionwide banks team, and was joined by Joanna Leong from NAB.

Says Bull, "The emerging market sales team in Singapore is a brand new team and it's predominantly focusing on hedge funds. That is three people probably rising to four. The institutional sales group in Singapore has gone from three people to six. And for the G10 foreign exchange coverage group we moved some people from Tokyo to Singapore, to get them to work across more efficiently with the emerging markets people."

Barclays splits its sales effort between four centres. Singapore covers Southeast Asia, Hong Kong covers Greater China, while Japan and Korea are covered respectively out of Tokyo and Seoul.

"The markets here are getting bigger," he continues. "The central bank pool of assets has been growing exponentially over the past five years. It forms about 60% of all central bank assets in the world. When you add to that the traditional Japanese city banks and pensions funds, you have a very significant pool of foreign assets.

"We are arguably the number one liquidity provider for both US and European government bonds. So we have to be talking to those clients in Asia. And then there are local Asian companies issuing international bonds, and that is a part of our franchise we are also growing. For example, we are now the number one foreign bond underwriter in Korea."

Year-to-date Barclays Capital has hired a grand total of 60 people in Asia-Pacific and Bull gives every indication that the growth will continue.

"We want to have a very significant client franchise in Asia," he concludes.