Barclays eyes four new private banking markets in Europe

October 7, 2020.

is reportedly planning on entering four new European private banking markets in 2021, as the British bank looks to take advantage of opportunities to expand its presence further in the European Economic Area.

Barclays Private Bank is seeking to expand to four countries, France, Italy, Spain and Germany, Barclays’ private banking head for Europe Gerald Mathieu told Reuters Wednesday. Mathieu, who was previously the head of Switzerland, was promoted in September this year to oversee wider Europe.

Barclays representative Melanie Hunt told Fastinform Wednesday that there were no details to share at the current time but said the bank sees “a lot of opportunities in Italy, France, Spain and Germany, where we also have a very strong footprint of corporate and investment banking locally.”

Additionally, “Barclays Private Bank has set up a robust platform in Dublin from which it can serve EEA clients,” Hunt said. 

Mathieu told Reuters that the bank will grow activities in the new European markets through its Dublin platform and by working together with local corporate and investment banking teams. 

“The idea is to have a capital-light approach and work in very close collaboration with the investment bank locally, targeting family offices, ultra high net worth individuals and some quasi-corporate or institutional clients,” he told the publication, adding that it was too early to speak on hiring plans. 

The Irish unit, Barclays Bank Ireland, became the bank’s main European Union banking entity as it prepared for Brexit. The bank has been expanding the subsidiary to continue offering products and services to its EEA clients after the U.K.’s departure from the EU, Barclays said on its website. 

In October 2018, the unit said it received confirmation of its extended banking license and most recently, in September of this year, it appointed Francesco Ceccato as CEO elect of Barclays Europe. He is based in Ireland. 

The plans for expansion come as the private banking business in Europe is seeing a growth in managed assets, although the global pandemic and negative interest rates are posing challenges to the business and industry as a whole, Mathieu said.

“The industry is facing global margin compression and very aggressive pricing competition,” he told Reuters. “The private banking business across Europe is profitable, but we have to anticipate and adapt our business model to the challenges of these times.”

Barclays Private Bank, which is based in the U.K., currently has locations in the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Ireland, Geneva, Monaco, Zurich, the Middle East and India, focused on serving high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals, family offices and institutions. The unit covers clients in more than 70 countries.