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Lehman latest bank to target Asia

When Lehman Brothers reported its first quarter earnings yesterday, chief administrative officer David Goldfarb identified growth in Asia as Lehman's 'number one priority'.

Goldfarb said the bank intends to build its mortgage-related business in Asia and to expand its energy trading and prime broking activities globally.

If all goes to plan, Lehman's Asian hiring plans could be rather impressive. Goldfarb said the bank's 'aggressive' growth plan in the region would mirror its expansion in Europe, where staff numbers have swelled from 1,300 in 1998 to 5,000 currently.

JPMorgan Cazenove and Barclays Capital are also building up in Asia. In October last year only 16% of Barclays Capital's 8,000 staff were based on the continent, for example. By contrast, 25% of its 2005 graduate intake came from Asia.

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