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Barclays Wealth pours millions into wealth management

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Barclays Wealth pours millions into wealth management

Barclays bank has injected £350 million into its wealth management business as part of its ambition to quadruple the size of its business and double its number of private bankers.

The project, dubbed Gamma, has been endorsed by the Barclays board, which has already poured £350 million into the business, meaning £700 million will be invested in total over five years.

While Barclays Wealth is the largest player in the UK after a number of acquisitions, its parent wants to see the business become a top five global wealth management business.

The company said the additional £350 million investment has been allocated to ‘kick start’ growth and although the plan officially launched at the end of June, the management has been working on the project for several months.

Out of the £350 million allocated, £230 will be spent on a new platform for the business. It appears the size of the platform is even larger in scope than the £100 million rival firm Coutts & Co invested into its Aveloq platform.

The other £120 million will be invested in personnel, with the aim of doubling the number of relationship managers within five years. This will see an additional 600 bankers working for the firm.

A Barclays Wealth spokeswoman said a number of ‘business imperatives’ have been identified and various management teams are working at full steam to implement the changes, with the focus primarily on enhancing the client experience.

She said: ‘At its core is the need to raise the talent bar. One-third of the £350 million is going to be spent on recruiting top bankers, but we will also be super-charging our internal training programmes so that we can “grow our own”.’

Barclays insiders have revealed there is even an internal intranet countdown clock, which started at 1,000, counting down the days for the project to be completed. Barclays Wealth said there will be various milestones along the way and the clock has been put in place to ‘focus people’s minds.’

David Semaya, Barclays Wealth’s new head of UK, will be spearheading the programme, while Mark Little, managing director at Barclays Wealth, has been tasked with growing the business in Scotland and Ireland.

Little said he was embarking on an ambitious recruitment campaign and was spending much of his time interviewing prospective candidates. ‘I have a mandate to grow the business and I’m probably spending a day a week interviewing people,’ he said.

While Little ruled out opening more offices in Scotland in the near future, he said the new Aberdeen branch had outpaced expectation and the Scottish operations were set to substantially expand in the months and years to come.

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