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London – Barclays plans to recruit more than 20 staff this year to bolster its European equities trading business as chief executive officer Jes Staley continues to back the investment bank while rivals retreat, according to two people familiar with the strategy.

The bank is searching for experienced traders and salespeople, as well as quantitative and product management specialists, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.

Barclays currently employs about 450 people in equities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to a person with knowledge of the industry, and the business is run by Rich Evans.

Staley recruited JPMorgan Chase's global head of equities, Tim Throsby, to overhaul the corporate and investment bank, which had steadily lost revenue and market position to revitalised US rivals.

The future of the securities unit was uncertain under Staley’s predecessor, Antony Jenkins, who publicly expressed concerns about its ability to generate sufficient returns.

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While Staley dismissed calls to spin off the investment bank, he still eliminated thousands of jobs and closed the cash equities business in Asia to refocus on London and New York.

However, a spokeswoman for Barclays declined to comment on the firm’s recruitment policies.