Barclays has targeted UK wealth management as a priority area of expansion as the business goes about ‘reinventing’ its consumer division following the Covid-19 crisis.
The goal, revealed in the company’s annual report, offered little further context or detail, however as it revealed that group level profits had halved in 2020, strongly beating analyst expectations.
The company said it would resume paying dividends of 1p per share after it reported profits of £3.1bn, well above a consensus forecast of £1.9bn. it will also return £700m via a buyback. In early trading shares were 0.9% lower at 152p.
In a statement, the company said: ‘We are reinventing our service model for customers to create a more efficient, more resilient and seamless service, which will include the expansion of our wealth management proposition.
‘We are building partnerships in the open market and working across the whole of Barclays to deliver additional value for our customers and businesses through our size and scale.’
Barclays Wealth has kept a relatively low profile in recent years since launching a restructure in 2019.
Chief executive Jes Staley added: ‘Barclays remains well capitalised, well provisioned for impairments, highly liquid, with a strong balance sheet, and competitive market positions across the group.
‘We expect that our resilient and diversified business model will deliver a meaningful improvement in returns in 2021.’
Barclay’s UK consumer banking division, which contains UK wealth, reported income 22% lower over the full year as multiple lockdowns bought the economy to a standstill, at £3.4bn.
Boosted by rocketing volatility, the investment and corporate banking division reported income 22% higher year-on-year however, at £12.5bn. Combined with an 8% increase in international earnings, at group level income was 1% higher, at £21.8bn.
While the business did not offer supplementary notes on its plans for Barclays Wealth, the separately incorporated international private bank noted it had some notable recent successes, including a performance award from Citywire.
In a statement, it said: ‘By leveraging the global reach of our universal banking model to seamlessly deliver capabilities, we have won numerous notable client mandates.
‘We have seen significant inflows into our discretionary investment offering as we deliver continued outperformance as highlighted by our multi-asset portfolio award at the 2020 Wealth Manager Investment Performance Awards in association with Asset Risk Consultants.’