Barclays Capital, the investment banking arm of Barclays plc, has hired Mike Di Iorio from Nomura to fill a new position as head of equities trading for Asia-Pacific, according to a release yesterday. The hire confirms the bank’s intention to continue to grow its equities business in Asia despite the announcement of layoffs at the bank globally earlier this month.

Di Iorio will oversee the firm’s equities trading business across the region, including Australia and Japan, which spans cash equities, convertibles, derivatives, index arbitrage and program trading. The business has been growing rapidly since the bank decided to make a serious push into equities in Asia to match its US presence in this asset class, which it gained when it bought Lehman Brothers' American operations at the end of 2008. Before that acquisition, equities at Barcap referred primarily to derivatives and equity-linked instruments.

But the bank has hired aggressively over the past couple of years and, according to a spokesperson, it currently employs about 100 people within its equities trading platform in Asia-Pacific. This expansion has been happening alongside an equally aggressive hiring spree to build an Asian equity capital markets origination business out of en earlier ECM team that was almost exclusively focused on convertible bonds.

Former Lehman employees have been tapped to build the Asian equities business as well, even though Lehman in Asia was acquired by Nomura. Indeed, Di Iorio’s immediate boss at Barcap in Asia will be Sigurbjörn "Siggi" Thorkelsson, the firm’s head of equities for Asia-Pacific, who joined Barcap in April this year after a long career with Lehman Brothers and Nomura.

The bank also kick-started its Asia-Pacific equities business by hiring close to 100 people from the former Lehman Brothers franchise in Japan in October 2008, shortly after that franchise was taken over by Nomura. That hiring wave included traders and sales people as well as research analysts and formed the backbone of a new equity sales and research service launched by Barcap in Japan around that time.

Di Iorio joined Lehman Brothers in March 2003 and transferred to Nomura when the Japanese bank took over. He was most recently co-head of equities trading for Asia-Pacific and before that he was head of flow derivatives trading at Lehman Brothers in London. He has also worked with Bank of America in Frankfurt and London as head of global exchange arbitrage for Europe.

At Barcap, Di Iorio will be based in Hong Kong and will report to Thorkelsson as well as to Joseph Corcoran, the firm’s head of global equities trading in New York. He is joining as a managing director.

Other recent Barcap hires for its equities sales and trading platform in the region include Jan Shun Yet, who joined from Bank of America Merrill Lynch earlier this month as Asia-Pacific head of electronic sales trading – confirming the bank’s intention to compete in e-trading as well.

Earlier this year it also hired Mark Sandeford, a former Credit Suisse employee, who joined from European hedge fund CQS to become head of cash equities trading for non-Japan Asia and Australia; and Jeremy Norris, who moved across from CLSA to take up a position as head of sales trading for non-Japan Asia.