Barclays Wealth in crisis talks with disgruntled staff
BARCLAYSWealth managing director Mark Kibblewhite was yesterday locked in talks with a group of disgruntled private client managers threatening to quit the company’s Edinburgh office.
Since the former Gerrard Investment Management business was acquired by Barclays Wealth five years ago it has suffered a wave of resignations by stockbrokers complaining they are being put under pressure to sell more products and are not able to build sustained client relationships.
For instance in 2006 seven of Gerrard’s Glasgow office team quit to establish a local branch of Smith & Williamson although Barclays Wealth maintains its business in the city is now in strong health and is adamant that the disgruntled Edinburgh group might yet stay.
A spokeswoman said: “We are in discussion with certain staff but nobody’s resignation have been accepted. Nobody has left.”
Barclays, which paid South African company Old Mutual £210m for the business, has set about establishing an operation which it believes can compete with traditional private banks for wealthy clients, in particular entrepreneurs.
At the heart of its approach is the notion that modern clients must be offered more than equity portfolios. Barclays Wealth wants them to be able to access advice on issues ranging from yacht finance to growing the equity stakes in their businesses.
But this has met opposition from stockbrokers concerned they are under too much pressure to sell products.
One investment management source said of the Edinburgh group: “They do not like being owned by a bank. They do not like pushing products to their clients. They are being turned into relationship managers whereby their client base is not their own.”
One source of speculation is that the disgruntled group may quit for Williams de Broe, part of the Evolution Group. Evolution declined to comment yesterday.
This would be quite a u-turn after the company pulled out of the capital barely two years ago.