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Barclays to withdraw wealth management services in 130 countries

The banking giant’s move will include job cuts.

British financial services provider Barclays is planning to shut down wealth management services in 130 nations by 2016, as part of its plans to reduce costs and improve profits.

The banking group will reduce the number of countries in which it provides wealth management services to 70 from about 200.

The decision will result in job cuts in Barclays Wealth & Investment Management unit that currently employs about 8,000 people, though the bank did not reveal the exact number.

The bank spokesman was quoted by Reuters as saying: “This is part of our new strategy, focusing on reducing complexity and competing where we can win. We don't expect overall global headcount to change significantly, but some roles will fall away as a result of new segmentation and investment in technology.”

The bank, however, plans to invest £400m in its wealth unit over the next three years.

In April this year, the British banking giant revealed plans to restructure its wealth business so as to work more closely with retail and corporate banking divisions.

Peter Horrell, CEO of wealth and investment management at Barclays, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: “The wealth management landscape continues to evolve at pace. We are responding to this by reducing complexity in our business, enabling us to focus on bringing the right services and products to clients in locations where we have scale.”

On Monday, the bank appointed Horrell as CEO of its wealth and investment management business. He was earlier the interim CEO of the business.

Barclays decision follows a similar announcement by Credit Suisse Group, earlier this week, about its plan to stop offering wealth management services in a few markets by 2014.