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Private banking 2012: Barclays’ model behaviour

Barclays Wealth has reinvented itself in just five years. With the benefit of heavy investment, it has developed a unique model of interacting with clients – using behavioural finance. It is targeting only high-net-worth clients and expanding globally.

Before the move to develop its wealth business in 2006, Barclays’ offering consisted of a handful of disconnected international businesses dotted around Hong Kong, Geneva and Monaco, and a UK presence that was seen to cater predominantly to the mass affluent.

Since then, however, the business has evolved into a global competitor that targets clients with more than $5 million in assets, and in some regions more than $10 million. It now has a presence in 20 countries, and has risen to become ranked the 10th-best global private bank in the Euromoney private banking survey.

Its ability to reinvent itself as a global wealth manager was born of a big investment in the business – an expensive undertaking that Barclays has remained committed to in spite of the downturn. Some £350 million ($545 million) is to be invested over five years, frontloaded in 2010, 2011 and this year as part of Project Gamma. Two-thirds of the investment is dedicated to building infrastructure and the remainder to adding staff.

Tom Kalaris, chief executive of Barclays Wealth

Tom Kalaris, Barclays Wealth

Tom Kalaris, chief executive of Barclays Wealth, who was appointed to head the expansion of the business in 2006, says that it was crucial to the entire Barclays franchise, and a natural progression for the firm.

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