Strategy

Barclays Wealth Opens Wallet To Hire More Bankers, Expand Market Reach - CEO

Tom Burroughes , Editor, London , 17 February 2010

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Barclays Wealth intends to increase its market share and number of private bankers with a £350 million ($547 million) investment spending programme, the firm, which reported 2009 results earlier today, said.

“We will see our number of private bankers double over five years,” Tom Kalaris, chief executive of Barclays Wealth, told this publication in a telephone interview.

At present, Barclays Wealth employs a total of 7,400 people, down from 7,900 at the end of 2008. While total headcount is not likely to expand significantly, there will be a substantial rise in the banker share of the total, Mr Kalaris said.

“The [Barclays] board has made a commitment of £350 million in addition to year-on-year investment. That £350 million is about two-thirds into what we are calling the overall platform of the client experience,  and we are building additional product capability,” he said.  "The other one third will be on recruiting high net worth bankers."

The wealth management firm reported a 78 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £145 million ($228 million) from a year ago, hit by the sale of a closed life business and the cost of integrating the old Lehman Brothers North American businesses last year. However, when these effects are stripped out, Barclays Wealth’s net income increased slightly.

Mr Kalaris said the spending programme, which is due to take place through this year, 2011 and 2012, will translate into a big increase in the scale and profitability of Barclays Wealth in 2013 and the following year.

“Over the course of the last 10 years, we have built up Barclays Capital and BGI and we are now using the same disciplines to build up Barclays Wealth,” Mr Kalaris continued.

About four years ago, we were ranked 27th in the world in terms of size, but now, depending on what metrics you use, we are now ninth or tenth,” he said. 

In his comments on the results, Barclays group CEO, John Varley, said: “In the area of wealth management, the competitive landscape in the global industry has gone through a sea change over the course of the last three years. That creates opportunity, and we intend to seize that by investing to change the scale of this business over the next five years.”

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