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Barclays to keep Swiss private banking growth momentum in 2019

Barclays to keep Swiss private banking growth momentum in 2019
FILE PHOTO: A Barclays sign is seen outside a branch of the bank in London, Britain, February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo   -   Copyright  Stefan Wermuth(Reuters)
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By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Angelika Gruber

ZURICH (Reuters) – Britain’s Barclays <BARC.L> expects to have grown its Swiss private banking business by more than 10 percent this year and is looking to expand further in Switzerland in 2019.

Barclays embarked on an international hiring spree across its wealth management division last year, targeting more business from a growing pool of millionaires and billionaires.

And the bank is now looking to recruit more relationship managers, product specialists and investment experts in Zurich and Geneva after business in Switzerland grew better than expected in 2018, its Swiss head Gerald Mathieu told Reuters.

Barclays, which has around 300 employees across private and investment banking in Switzerland, plans to add six to 10 relationship managers, the money-earners who attract and serve customers in wealth management, in the year ahead.

“When you look at the market, there’s a league that starts at 20 billion Swiss francs (15.74 billion pounds) in assets under management and credits,” Mathieu said, adding that Barclays is now more than three quarters of the way to that mark.

“With the progress and momentum we have with clients, Barclays is already well on the way to achieving this goal over a short to medium-term timeframe,” he added.

Barclays has carved out a niche among British and Middle Eastern clients looking to book money in Switzerland, and sees room to expand its onshore business for ultra-wealthy expats who are familiar with the bank’s brand and British heritage.

“We are able to provide access to our investment and corporate bank, which makes a big difference when meeting ultra high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs,” said Mathieu.

The banker, who previously led Barclays’ international private banking out of Monaco, said uncertainty over Brexit could also prove a boost to the Swiss business.

(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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