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Barclays wealth arm writes to clients over £22m AIG remediation

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Barclays wealth arm writes to clients over £22m AIG remediation

Barclays' wealth arm has set aside several million pounds to compensate clients invested in the AIG Enhanced Variable Rate fund.

Some £22 million was chalked up as a 'client remediation provision' in the bank's H1 results, in which Barclays as a group announced a £5.8 billion rights issue while its wealth division posted a 53% drop in pre-tax profit.

Speaking to Wealth Manager, a Barclays spokesperson said: '[The provision] relates to a small number of clients who were invested in a product that didn't perform as it should have done over the course of the financial crisis.

'We have taken the view that where appropriate we should reinstate them to the position they'd have been in had they been invested in cash.  We are in the course of writing to clients to let them know our plans.'

The spokesperson confirmed the remediation is linked to the AIG Enhanced Variable Rates fund, which private bank Coutts was fined £6.3 million for mis-selling in 2011.

Barclays refused to be drawn on whether it too could face a similar penalty, saying it had 'stayed close' to its clients and the regulator over the five years since the credit crisis.

Elsewhere, defaulted Spanish property loans and costs linked to the wider Barclays Transform programme also caused a drag on the wealth division's numbers.

While at a group level the bank announced profit of £3.5 billion, in line with expectations, Barclays' discretionary arm saw its H1 profit slump from £99 million to £47 million, largely due to the increase in its operating costs.

The division shouldered a £33 million share of the bank's £640 million Transform programme bill, though more broadly it saw its total income rise year-on-year, from £875 million at the end of June 2012 to £931 million at the end of June 2013.

This rise was driven by Barclays' high net worth (HNW) client base, the bank said, highlighting that the typical customer asset margin had also risen by 16bps to 81bps, reflecting higher margins on HNW businesses. 

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