Barclays pulls plug on wealth management

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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Barclays is to stop offering wealth management services in about 130 countries by 2016, focusing on the remaining 70 overseas markets where the bank believes it has scale and a competitive edge.

“This is part of our new strategy, focusing on reducing complexity and competing where we can win,” a Barclays spokesman said yesterday.

Barclays Wealth employs about 8,000 staff, and the spokesman said although there would be some job losses due to the overseas withdrawal that figure would not change significantly.

The bank – shortly to tap the stock market with a cash call to beef up its balance sheet – revealed plans in April of this year to revamp its wealth business so it works more closely with the retail and corporate banking divisions.

Yesterday’s announcement follows the appointment of Peter Horrell as chief executive of its wealth and investment management unit on Monday. Horrell had been interim boss since May, when his predecessor Tom Kalaris was ousted. City banking analysts said profits at Barclays’ wealth business lag both rivals and targets set by group chief executive Antony Jenkins.

The division posted a return on equity of just 2.5 per cent in the first half of this year.

Barclays estimates the overseas markets it will remain in cover 86 per cent of the global wealth management sector.

Under the plan the bank will stop full-service wealth management for thousands of customers with between £100,000 and £500,000 to invest.