Barclays

Office address: 1 Churchill Place, London E14 5HP 
Website: www.barclays.co.uk  
Year established: 1690 
Company type: financial services 
Employees: 83,500+ 
Expertise: banking, wealth and investment management, private equity and investment management, retail banking, investment banking, credit cards, corporate banking 
Parent company: N/A 
Key people: CS Venkatakrishnan (group CEO), Nigel Higgins, (group chairman), Anna Cross (group finance director), Robert Berry (independent NED), Tim Breedon CBE (independent NED), Mohamed A. El-Erian (independent NED, Dawn Fitzpatrick (independent NED, Brian Gilvary (senior independent director) 
Financing status: N/A    

Barclays is a British banking company that has over 300 years of history, holding a market capitalisation of approximately £31.5 billion as of early May 2024. The company operates a premier, full-service global corporate and investment bank alongside consumer banking and payments operations worldwide. It employs around 83,500 individuals, operates in over 40 countries, and caters to a customer base of 48 million.    

History of Barclays 

Barclays dates back to its establishment in 1690 when it was started as a goldsmith banking business in London by John Freame and Thomas Gould. In 1736, Freame brought his brother-in-law, James Barclay, into the partnership, and the Barclay name has been associated with the business continuously since then.  

The company was among the first banks to issue banknotes in the 18th century and rapidly evolved over the centuries. The 20th century marked significant expansions and technological innovations, including producing the world's first credit cards and ATMs. In 2023, Barclays maintained its status as one of the leading banking companies in the world, managing assets totaling £1.477 trillion.   

Products and Services of Barclays 

Barclays has a wide array of key offerings that aim to address diverse financial requirements and enhance the economic well-being of its clients. These include: 

  • mortgages and real estate services: mortgage products designed to meet the diverse needs of property buyers and investors, from first-time homebuyers to seasoned investors 

  • personal banking: comprehensive services including savings accounts, personal loans, and credit facilities 

  • business banking: solutions for businesses of all sizes, focusing on facilitating growth and operational efficiency 

  • wealth management: tailored financial advice and investment services for high-net-worth individuals   

Culture at Barclays 

Barclays promotes a progressive workplace where innovation is encouraged across a global team. Their initiatives support a vibrant culture of technological advancement and collaboration, encouraging better customer service relations. The company also ensures that its banking services are accessible to all, no matter the disability or impairment of the client. 

Barclays offers a variety of perks and rewards for its employees, aimed at promoting a supportive and inclusive work environment. Along with comprehensive health benefits and competitive pay, the company also provides the following for its workers:  

  • 24/7 employee assistance program 

  • fitness classes and mindfulness sessions 

  • sports and social clubs 

  • inspirational speaker series 

  • workplace adjustment scheme 

  • wellbeing consultations 

  • gym access 

Barclays' approach to ESG (environmental, social, and governance) initiatives is centred on creating sustainable and positive impacts. The bank actively engages in social responsibility projects and strives to uphold high governance standards to drive ethical practices across its operations. The company focuses on three key areas:  

  • environmental stewardship: funding for renewable energy, net-zero emissions by 2050, rewarding customers who buy energy-efficient homes, ie Green Home Mortgages 

  • social responsibility: partnership with charities, eg Family Action and Marie Curie, and initiatives aimed at teaching young people to prepare for the future such as the LifeSkills program 

  • governance: diversity recruitment, mentorship for diverse leadership, ethical business practices 

Barclays has implemented a comprehensive suite of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives aimed at promoting an inclusive and equitable work environment. The bank’s approach is structured around five strategic priority areas: 

  • workforce diversity: focus on enhancing diversity across all levels of the organisation 

  • inclusive and equitable culture: promote an environment where all employees feel valued and supported 

  • leadership accountability: ensure leaders are committed and accountable for DEI progress 

  • data transparency and accountability: use data to drive and measure DEI efforts transparently 

  • optimisation of external relationships: leverage partnerships to foster diversity and inclusion outside the organisation   

About Barclays Group CEO CS Venkatakrishnan and Key People 

CS Venkatakrishnan currently serves as the Group CEO of Barclays from 2021, bringing extensive experience in asset management, investment banking, and firmwide risk management. Venkatakrishnan was the managing director for JP Morgan for 21 years before becoming Barclay’s CRO in 2016. He earned a PhD in Operations Research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.   

Supporting Venkatakrishnan is a team of key executives: 

  • Nigel Higgins, as group chairman, oversees the bank’s governance structures 

  • Anna Cross, the group finance director, is responsible for Barclays' financial health 

  • Robert Berry, as an independent non-executive director, has deep risk management expertise, contributing oversight on compliance and risk 

  • Tim Breedon CBE, independent non-executive director, provides strategic insights based on his significant experience as a former group CEO 

  • Mohamed A. El-Erian, also an independent non-executive director, is known for his expertise and experience in multilateral institutions, and asset management industry 

  • Dawn Fitzpatrick, independent non-executive director, brings a wealth of investment and financial knowledge 

  • Brian Gilvary, as senior independent director, has extensive experience in finance and management, focusing on the bank's long-term strategic interests   

The Future at Barclays 

Barclays increased its investment in climate-tech start-ups, planning to ramp up its Sustainable Impact Capital portfolio to £500 million by 2027. The bank has also set an ambitious target to facilitate £801.26 billion in Sustainable and Transition Financing by 2030. These moves highlight its ongoing commitment to supporting innovations that address environmental challenges.  

Barclays partnered with Tesco in 2024 to offer Tesco-branded banking products, indicating a strategic expansion into co-branded financial services. Additionally, Barclays is expanding its digital banking services and cybersecurity measures to better accommodate a growing base of online customers. These recent activities provide a clear indication of Barclays' strategy focusing on expanding and diversifying their market presence. 

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