Barclays plc

2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Companies

Barclays PLC
Type Public (LSE: BARC, NYSE:  BCS, TYO: 8642)
Founded 1690
Headquarters London, England, UK
Key people Marcus Agius, Chairman
John Varley, Chief Executive
Industry Banking
Products Banking
Investment banking
Investment management
Revenue £22,170 million GBP ( 2006)
Operating income £7,136 million GBP ( 2006)
Net income £4,571 million GBP ( 2006)
Employees 118,000 ( 2006)
The Barclays Group is based in One Churchill Place, Canary Wharf
The Barclays Group is based in One Churchill Place, Canary Wharf

Barclays PLC is a major global financial services provider operating in Europe, the United States, the Middle East, Latin America, Australia, Asia and Africa. It is a holding company that is listed in London, New York and Tokyo. It operates through its subsidiary Barclays Bank PLC. It is also the current sponsor of the English Premier League.

Barclays PLC is the 18th largest company in the world according to Forbes Global 2000 rankings (2007 list). Barclays PLC is the largest company in the world by assets ($1,949.17 billion), the 4th largest financial services provider in the world by Tier 1 capital ($32.5 billion), and the 15th largest in the banking industry by market capitalization ($94.79 billion). It is the third largest bank in the United Kingdom based on market capitalization.

The bank's headquarters are at One Churchill Place in Canary Wharf, in London's Docklands, having moved there in May 2005 from Lombard Street in the City of London.


This bank traces its roots back to 1690 in London. The name "Barclays" became associated with the business in 1736. The bank took its name from Alexander and David Barclay, who provided credit to transatlantic slave traders.


  • 1896 — Several banks in London and the English provinces, notably Backhouse's Bank of Darlington and Gurney's Bank of Norwich, unite under the banner of Barclays and Co
  • 1905–1916 — Acquisitions of small English banks extends the branch network
  • 1918 — Barclays amalgamates with the London, Provincial and South Western Bank
  • 1919 — The British Linen Bank was acquired by Barclays Bank though it retained a separate board of directors and continued to issue its own bank notes.
  • 1965 — Barclays establishes a US affiliate, Barclays Bank of California in San Francisco.
  • 1966 — Barclaycard launched, the first credit card in the UK
  • 1967 — Barclays unveils the first ATM cash machine at Enfield, north London.
  • 1969 — Planned merger with Martins Bank and Lloyds Bank; forbidden by the Mergers and Monopolies Commission
  • 1969 — Acquisition of Martins Bank allowed
  • 1969 — The British Linen Bank subsidiary sold to the Bank of Scotland in exchange for a 25% stake
  • 1985 — Barclays Bank and Barclays Bank International merge. As part of the corporate reorganisation, the former Barclays Bank PLC becomes a group holding company, renamed as Barclays PLC. UK retail banking is integrated under the former BBI, and renamed Barclays Bank PLC.
  • 1986 — Barclays sells its South African operations under the Barclays National Bank name after protests against Barclays' involvement in South Africa and its apartheid government.
  • 1986 — Buys de Zoete & Bevan and Wedd Durlacher to form BZW, to take advantage of Big Bang on the London Stock Exchange
  • 1988 — Barclays sells Barclays Bank of California to Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
  • 1994 — Edgar Pearce, the "Mardi Gras Bomber", begins a terror campaign against the bank and the supermarket chain Sainsbury's
  • 1996 — Buys Wells Fargo Nikko Investment Advisors (WFNIA) and merges it with BZW Investment Management to form Barclays Global Investors
  • 1998 — BZW business is broken up and parts sold to Credit Suisse First Boston. Retains debt business which forms the foundation of what is now Barclays Capital.
  • 1999 — In an unusual move as part of the trend at the time for free ISPs, Barclays launches an internet service called This entity is acquired by British Telecom in 2001.
  • 2000 — Acquisition of Woolwich plc (formerly the Woolwich Building Society)
  • 2001 — Barclays closes 171 branches in the UK, many of them in rural communities. Calls itself "THE BIG BANK" but this is quickly given a low profile after a series of embarrassing PR stunts.
  • 2003 — Barclays buys American credit card company Juniper Bank from CIBC, re-branding it as "Barclays Bank Delaware". Acquisition of Banco Zaragozano, the 11th Spanish bank.
  • 2005 — Barclays seals £2.6bn takeover of Absa Group Limited, South Africa's largest retail bank, acquiring a 54% stake on July 27
  • 2006 — Barclays purchases HomEq servicing corporation for $469 million in cash from Wachovia Corp.
  • 2006 — Acquisition of the financial website Comparetheloan
  • 2006 — Barclays announces plans to rebrand Woolwich branches as Barclays, migrating Woolwich customers onto Barclays accounts and migrating back-office processes onto Barclays systems. The Woolwich brand will be used for Barclays mortgages.
  • 2007 — Barclays announces that it has purchased the naming rights to the Barclays Centre, a proposed 18,000-seat arena in Brooklyn, New York, where the New Jersey Nets plan to relocate.
  • 2007 — Barclays announces a merger with (effectively a takeover of) the Dutch bank ABN Amro. This prompts a separate bid for the Dutch bank from a consortium led by the RBS Group and comprising of the Belgian bank Fortis and the Spanish bank Santander, under the name RFS (Royal/Fortis/Santander}.
  • 2007 — Barclays agrees to purchase Equifirst Corporation from Regions Financial Corporation for $225 million.
  • 2007 — Barclays withdraws a bid for ABN Amro allowing RBS to succeed with their offer.

Constituents of the Barclays Group

  • Barclays Bank PLC
  • Mercers Debt Collection Agency
  • Barclays Bank Delaware (formerly Barclaycard US, originally Juniper Bank, acquired 2003)
  • Barclays Retail Bank — UK clearing bank
  • Barclays Commercial Bank — Dealing with medium and larger corporate UK business. UK banks
  • Barclays Wealth — Stockbrokers, Offshore and Private bank
  • Barclays Private Clients International Ltd. — subsidiary based in the Isle of Man with branches in the Channel Islands
  • Barclays Private Equity
  • Barclaycard — Global credit card business
  • Barclaycard US — Separate from the Barclaycard global operation, this is the corporation's US credit card operation (formerly known as "Juniper Bank"). Issues branded credit cards such as US Airways, Midwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines MasterCard, Airtran Airways Visa card, and Apple Store Visa and MasterCard accounts.
  • Barclays Capital — Investment bank
  • Barclays Global Investors — Investment management company
  • Woolwich plc — UK mortgage brand
  • Barclays Africa — To be transferred to ABSA (South Africa)
  • Barclays Spain
  • Barclays Portugal
  • Barclays France
  • Absa Group Limited (South Africa)
  • Firstplus Financial Group PLC

Key management

Board of Directors

  • Marcus Agius - Chairman
  • Sir Nigel Rudd - Deputy Chairman
  • Fulvio Conti - Non Executive Director
  • Sir Richard Broadbent - Senior Independent Director
  • Richard Leigh Clifford - Non Executive Director
  • Professor Dame Sandra Dawson - Non Executive Director
  • Sir Andrew Likierman - Non Executive Director
  • Stephen Russell - Non Executive Director
  • Sir John Sunderland - Non Executive Director
  • Dr. Danie Cronjé - Non Executive Director, Chairman of Absa

Corporate Executives

  • John Varley - Chief Executive Officer
  • Robert E. Diamond, Jr. - President
  • Frits Seegers - Executive Vice President, Global Retail & Commercial Banking
  • Paul Idzik - Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer
  • Christopher Lucas - Executive Vice President, and Chief Financial Officer
  • Mark Harding - Executive Vice President, and Chief Legal Officer
  • Gary Hoffman - Vice President, and Group Vice Chairman

Organizational structure

Barclays is headed by Marcus Agius, the Group Chairman, who joined the Board on 1 September 2006 and succeeded Matthew Barrett as Chairman from 1 January 2007. Agius is also the senior executive Director of the BBC and was formerly Chairman of BAA PLC, Chairman of Lazard in London and a Deputy Chairman of Lazard LLC until 31 December 2006.

Reporting directly to the Group Chairman is John Varley, the Group Chief Executive, who is responsible for the strategic direction and planning of all Barclays operations. Varley was appointed to the role in September 2004 prior to which he served as Deputy Chief Executive (January-September 2004) and Group Finance Director (2000-2003).

The operating units of Barclays are grouped under two umbrellas; Investment Banking and Investment Management (IB&IM) and Global Retail and Commercial Banking (GRCB). IB&IM oversees three core operating units: Barclays Capital, Barclays Global Investors (BGI) and Barclays Wealth Management.

GRCB oversees multiple operating units. Principally it has responsibility for UK Retail Banking (UKRB), Barclays Commercial Bank (formally UK Business Banking), Barclaycard and International Retail and Commercial Banking (IR&CB).

Branch of Barclays in Westminster
Branch of Barclays in Westminster


Barclays has many UK high street branches and it has also joined up with the Post Office Ltd to provide personal banking services to customers who live near a Post Office branch and those who need financial services such as secured or unsecured loans.

Most Barclays branches have 24/7 ATMs. Barclays' customers and customers of many other banks can use Barclays ATMs free of charge.

Barclays is a member of the Global ATM Alliance.


Since 2004, Barclays has sponsored the Premier League and, from 2006, the Churchill Cup.

Barclays also sponsored the Football League from 1987 until 1993, succeeding Today newspaper and being replaced by Endsleigh Insurance.

Barclays' legal situation

Currently, a South African activist group, the Jubilee South Africa backed Khulumani Support Group, is seeking reparations from Barclays in addition to Citigroup, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Ford, GM, and Deutsche Bank for their roles indirectly supporting the apartheid government in South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s. The legal proceedings are being heard at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, and the South African Ministry of Justice is seeking dismissal of the case on the grounds that it undermines its national sovereignty.

Planned merger with ABN AMRO

In March 2007 Barclays announced plans to merge with ABN AMRO, the largest bank in the Netherlands. However, on 5 October 2007 Barclays announced that it had abandoned its bid, citing inadequate support by ABN shareholders. Fewer than 80% of shares had been tendered to Barclay's cash-and-shares offer. This left the consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland free to proceed with its $99.9 billion counter-bid for ABN AMRO.

To help finance its bid for ABN AMRO, Barclays sold a 3.1% stake to China Development Bank and a 3% stake to Temasek Holdings, the investment arm of the Singaporean government.

Financial problems

On 30 August 2007, Barclays was forced to borrow £1.6bn ($3.2bn) from the Bank of England sterling standby facility. This is made available as a last-resort when banks are unable to settle their debts to other banks at the end of daily trading.

Despite rumours about liquidity at Barclays the loan was necessary due to a technical problem with their computerised settlement network. A Barclays spokesman was quoted as saying "There are no liquidity issues in the U.K markets. Barclays itself is flush with liquidity."

On 9 November 2007, Barclays shares dropped 9% and were even temporarily suspended for a short period of time, due to rumours of a $10bn (£4.8bn) exposure to bad debts in the US. However, a Barclays spokesman denied the rumours.

Subsequent write-downs at the bank were announced to be £1 billion ($1.9 billion), much less than feared.

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