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UK: Retail is a key ingredient for success at Barclays

Wants division to provide a higher proportion of profits; admits to considering small acquisitions to achieve this; might need larger ones.

Last month, investors got a first glimpse of Barclays’ new strategy to grow its global retail bank (GRB) that it has been cooking up since the departure of former head Frits Seegers in November 2009. In its search for scale in key markets, Barclays will be on the lookout for more acquisitions.

Seegers had grown the old retail and commercial banking division of Barclays in helter-skelter fashion during his three years at the UK bank, taking it from 30 million customers to close to 50 million, opening over 1,000 new branches, mainly across southern Europe, making several acquisitions of portfolios of assets and businesses and gaining banking licences from Spain to Pakistan and Russia.

Frits Seegers went when the commercial banking division was picked up by Bob Diamond

Frits Seegers went when the commercial banking division was picked up by Bob Diamond

Seegers quit when large parts of the commercial banking business were folded into the investment banking division headed by Robert Diamond. The main parts of Barclays’ commercial banking operations in several fast-growing emerging market countries, including Russia, India, Pakistan and Indonesia, were transferred across to Barclays Capital in the process.

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