Wealth Manager - the site for professional investment managers

Register to get unlimited access to all of Citywire’s Fund Manager database. Registration is free and only takes a minute.

Will Barclays ultimately regret its sub-500k decision?

7 comments
Will Barclays ultimately regret its sub-500k decision?

The monumental overhaul at Barclays means its wealth division has grown in significance.

Last week the bank revealed it would cull 7,000 investment bankers from its ranks in a huge transformation of its business profile.

Profits in the investment bank had been hit by the slowdown in debt trading, while Barclays has been under pressure to reduce its dependence on the unit, which took centre stage under the reign of former chief executive Bob Diamond.

From the ashes, Barclays' wealth unit is likely overtake its investment banking division as the biggest single profit generator in the bank.

With so much focus on the wealth arm now, one wonders whether there is some regret at Barclays decision to place UK clients with assets of below £500,000 in a new ‘lighter touch’ private client division.

The decision, made last November, resulted in a 35% reduction in its private banker head count.

While Barclays stressed at the time these lower net worth clients remained important to the bank, it highlighted they will no longer have day-to-day contact with a regulated investment manager.

'Wealth and Investment Management continues to be a key area of growth within Barclays,' the bank said in a statement at the time.

'We are making good progress in implementing a new strategy, designed to make us the "go-to" provider of wealth and investment management advice and solutions globally. It builds on our strengths, focuses on competing where we can win and simplifies how we operate.  

'We are making changes to the way we service our affluent clients in the UK, and as a consequence a number of private banking and support roles will no longer be required.'

The timing of the decision was perhaps a little unfortunate.  

In March, chancellor George Osborne stunned the pension world by saying people will no longer have to buy an annuity on retirement.

This opens up a range of opportunities for wealth managers to serve a potential flood of money coming out of this £12 billion a year market.

Last month Wealth Manager canvassed the views of seven discretionary managers to find out how much potential they saw in this opportunity.  

No doubt if there is an opportunity out there, Barclays immense distribution strength leaves it well placed to exploit it through any new service it wishes to launch.  

However, its shift in attitude to the sub-500k market may mean one or two potential clients think twice before using Barclays.  

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.
Citywire TV
Play JPM’s Negyal: Back divis to temper EM volatility

JPM’s Negyal: Back divis to temper EM volatility

Omar Negyal, co-manager of the JPMorgan Global Emerging Markets Income trust, says a dividend approach to emerging markets reduces the volatility of investing in the asset class.

Play WMR: Why Russia will lose this war

WMR: Why Russia will lose this war

Author and journalist Adam Lebor believes a perfect storm is brewing when it comes to the Russian economy. .

Play WMR: Gerard Lyons warns Asia is the real risk, not Russia & Ukraine

WMR: Gerard Lyons warns Asia is the real risk, not Russia & Ukraine

Chief economic adviser to London mayor Boris Johnson outlines the geo-political risks in Asia and explains why the risk of another eurozone crisis must not be underestimated.

Your Business: Cover Star Club

Profile: 'new normal' now is as dangerous as when it was applied to tech

Profile: 'new normal' now is as dangerous as when it was applied to tech

7IM's CIO Chris Darbyshire says he has been re-energised by his new role, but has little time for 'new normal' doom-mongers

Wealth Manager on Twitter