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Barclays PLC
Type Public limited company
Traded as LSE: BARC
Industry Banking
Financial services
Founded 1690 (London)
Headquarters One Churchill Place,
Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom
Area served Worldwide
Key people Sir David Walker
(Group Chairman)
Antony Jenkins
(Group Chief Executive)
Products Retail banking
Commercial banking
Investment banking
Investment management
Revenue £27.935 billion (2013)[1]
($47.889B USD)
Operating income £2.868 billion (2013)[1]
($4.916B USD)
Net income £1.297 billion (2013)[1]
($2.224B USD)
Total assets £1.312 trillion (2013)[1]
($2.249T USD)
Total equity £55.385 billion (2013)[1]
($94.249B USD)
Employees 139,600 (2013)[1]
Divisions Barclaycard
Barclays Investment Bank
Barclays Wealth
Subsidiaries Absa Group
Barclays Bank PLC

Barclays is a British [2] As of 31 December 2011 Barclays had total assets of US$2.42 trillion, the seventh-largest of any bank worldwide.[3]

Barclays is organised within these business clusters: Corporate and Investment Banking, Wealth and Investment Management; and Retail and Business Banking.[2] The Corporate and Investment Banking, Wealth and Investment Management cluster comprises three business units: Corporate banking; [2]

Barclays traces its origins to a goldsmith banking business established in the City of London in 1690. James Barclay became a partner in the business in 1736. In 1896 several banks in London and the English provinces, including Backhouse's Bank and Gurney's Bank, united as a joint-stock bank under the name Barclays and Co. Over the following decades Barclays expanded to become a nationwide bank. In 1967, Barclays deployed the world's first cash dispenser. Barclays has made numerous corporate acquisitions, including of London, Provincial and South Western Bank in 1918, British Linen Bank in 1919, Mercantile Credit in 1975, the Woolwich in 2000 and the North American operations of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Barclays has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It had a market capitalisation of approximately £22 billion as of 23 December 2011, the 22nd-largest company of any company with a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange.[4] It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.


  • History 1
    • 1690 to 1900 1.1
    • 1900 to 1945 1.2
    • 1946 to 1980 1.3
    • 1980 to 2000 1.4
    • 21st century 1.5
      • Abandoned merger with ABN AMRO 1.5.1
      • Financing 1.5.2
      • Lehman Brothers acquisition 1.5.3
      • 2009 to present 1.5.4
  • Operations 2
    • Principal divisions and subsidiaries 2.1
    • Branches and ATMs 2.2
    • Senior management 2.3
      • Executive Committee 2.3.1
      • Board of Directors 2.3.2
  • Sponsorships 3
  • Controversies 4
    • Involvement with South Africa under apartheid 4.1
    • Financial support for the government in Zimbabwe 4.2
    • Accusations of money laundering 4.3
    • Senior management bonuses 4.4
    • Tax avoidance 4.5
      • 2012 tax repayment 4.5.1
    • Conflicts of interest 4.6
    • Customer satisfaction 4.7
    • Rate-fixing scandal 4.8
    • Staff diversity 4.9
    • Qatari capital raising regulatory investigations 4.10
    • US electricity market manipulation 4.11
    • Gold price manipulation 4.12
    • US lawsuit alleging dark pool fraud 4.13
  • Competition 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


1690 to 1900

Barclays traces its origins back to 1690 when John Freame and Thomas Gould started trading as goldsmith bankers in Lombard Street, London. The name "Barclays" became associated with the business in 1736, when James Barclay, the son-in-law of John Freame, one of the founders, became a partner in the business.[5] In 1728 the bank moved to 54 Lombard Street, identified by the 'Sign of the Black Spread Eagle', which in subsequent years would become a core part of the bank's visual identity.[6]

In 1776 the firm was styled "Barclay, Bevan and Bening" and so remained until 1785, when another partner, John Tritton, who had married a Barclay, was admitted, and the business then became "Barclay, Bevan, Barclay and Tritton".[7]

In 1896 several banks in London and the English provinces, notably Backhouse's Bank of Darlington and Gurney's Bank of Norwich, united under the banner of Barclays and Co., a joint-stock bank.

1900 to 1945

The Barclays Bank branch in Sutton, London, which was originally a branch of London and Provincial prior to acquisition by Barclays

Between 1905 and 1916 Barclays extended its branch network by making acquisitions of small English banks. Further expansion followed in 1918 when Barclays amalgamated with the London, Provincial and South Western Bank and in 1919 when the British Linen Bank was acquired by Barclays Bank, although the British Linen Bank retained a separate board of directors and continued to issue its own bank notes (see Banknotes of the pound sterling). Then in 1924 the planned takeover of National Bank of Kingston reached near-completion but was halted three days before finalisation.

In 1925 the Colonial Bank, National Bank of South Africa and the Anglo-Egyptian Bank were amalgamated and Barclays operated its overseas operations under the name Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) – Barclays DCO.[8] In 1938 Barclays acquired the first Indian exchange bank, the Central Exchange Bank of India, which had opened in London in 1936 with the sponsorship of Central Bank of India.[9]

1946 to 1980

A plaque in Enfield, United Kingdom commemorating the installation of the world's first cash machine by Barclays in 1967

In 1965, Barclays established a US affiliate, Barclays Bank of California in San Francisco.[10][11]

Barclays launched the first credit card in the UK, Barclaycard, in 1966. On 27 June 1967, Barclays deployed the world's first cash machine, in Enfield.[12][13] The British actor Reg Varney was the first one to use the machine.[13]

In 1969, a planned merger with Martins Bank and Lloyds Bank was blocked by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, but the acquisition of Martins Bank on its own was later permitted. Also that year, the British Linen Bank subsidiary was sold to the Bank of Scotland in exchange for a 25% stake, a transaction that became effective from 1971. Barclays DCO changed its name to Barclays Bank International in 1971.[8]

In August 1975, following the secondary banking crash, Barclays acquired Mercantile Credit Company.[14]

1980 to 2000

In 1980, Barclays Bank International expanded its business to include commercial credit and took over American Credit Corporation, renaming it Barclays American Corporation.[15]

Barclays became the first bank to re-open branches on Saturday mornings in 1982, twenty years after the practice ended. Two years later, in 1984, Barclays posted record profits.

The following year Barclays Bank and Barclays Bank International merged, and as part of the corporate reorganisation the former Barclays Bank plc became a group holding company, renamed Barclays plc, and UK retail banking was integrated under the former BBI, and renamed Barclays Bank PLC.[8]

In 1986 Barclays sold its South African business operating under the Barclays National Bank name after protests against Barclays' involvement in South Africa and its apartheid government. Also that year Barclays bought de Zoete & Bevan and Wedd Durlacher (formerly Wedd Jefferson)[16] to form BZW and to take advantage of the Big Bang on the London Stock Exchange.

Barclays introduced the Connect card in June 1987, the first debit card in the United Kingdom.[17][18] The Connect brand is still being used on their debit cards today.

In 1988, Barclays sold Barclays Bank of California, which at that time was the 17th-largest bank in California measured by assets, to Wells Fargo for US$125 million in cash.[19]

Edgar Pearce, the "Mardi Gra Bomber", began a terror campaign against the bank and the supermarket chain Sainsbury's in 1994.[20]

In 1996, Barclays bought Wells Fargo Nikko Investment Advisors (WFNIA) and merged it with BZW Investment Management to form Barclays Global Investors.[21]

Two years later, in 1998, the BZW business was broken up and parts were sold to Credit Suisse First Boston: Barclays retained the debt business which formed the foundation of what is now Barclays Capital.[22]

In 1999, in an unusual move as part of the trend at the time for free ISPs, Barclays launched an internet service called this entity was acquired by British Telecom in 2001.[23]

The year 2000 saw the acquisition of Woolwich plc (formerly the Woolwich Building Society).[24]

21st century

A Barclays branch in Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom

In 2001 Barclays closed 171 branches in the UK, many of them in rural communities: Barclays called itself "THE BIG BANK" but this name was quickly given a low profile after a series of embarrassing PR stunts.[25]

In 2003, Barclays bought the American credit card company Juniper Bank from CIBC, re-branding it as "Barclays Bank Delaware".[26] The same year saw the acquisition of Banco Zaragozano, the 11th largest Spanish bank.[27]

Barclays took over sponsorship of the Premier League from Barclaycard in 2004.[28] In May 2005 Barclays moved its group headquarters from Lombard Street in the City of London to One Churchill Place in Canary Wharf. Also in 2005 Barclays sealed a £2.6bn takeover of Absa Group Limited, South Africa's largest retail bank, acquiring a 54% stake on 27 July 2005.[29]

Then in 2006, Barclays purchased the HomEq Servicing Corporation for US$469 million in cash from Wachovia Corp.[30] That year also saw the acquisition of the financial website Comparetheloan[31] and Barclays announcing plans to rebrand Woolwich branches as Barclays, migrating Woolwich customers onto Barclays accounts and migrating back-office processes onto Barclays systems – the Woolwich brand was to be used for Barclays mortgages.[32]

In January 2007, Barclays announced that it had purchased the naming rights to the Barclays Center, a proposed 18,000-seat arena in Brooklyn, New York, where the New Jersey Nets planned to relocate.[33] Barclays cancelled its secondary listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2008.

In April 2013, Barclays announced a new initiative called Digital Eagles. The ideology was to create infectious staff advocacy and use this opportunity to highlight to customers the benefits of digital solutions to help make customers live much easier. Barclays Digital Eagles are the creative driving force for everything digital across the United Kingdom with expansions taking place in South Africa and Europe.

Abandoned merger with ABN AMRO

In March 2007, Barclays announced plans to merge with ABN AMRO, the largest bank in the Netherlands.[34][35] However, on 5 October 2007 Barclays announced that it had abandoned its bid,[36] citing inadequate support by ABN shareholders. Fewer than 80% of shares had been tendered to Barclays' cash-and-shares offer.[37] This left the consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland free to proceed with its US$99.9 cents 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.[38]

Also in 2007, Barclays agreed to purchase Equifirst Corporation from Regions Financial Corporation for US$225 million.[39] That year also saw Barclays Personal Investment Management announcing the closure of their operation in Peterborough and its re-siting to Glasgow, laying off nearly 900 members of staff.[40][41]


On 30 August 2007, Barclays was forced to borrow £1.6 billion (US$3.2 billion) 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.[42] 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."[43]

On 9 November 2007, Barclays shares dropped 9% and were even temporarily suspended for a short period of time, due to rumours of a £4.8 billion (US$10 billion) exposure to bad debts in the US. However, a Barclays spokesman denied the rumours.[44] Subsequent write-downs at the bank were announced to be £1 billion (US$1.9 billion), much less than feared.

Barclays sought to raise capital privately, avoiding direct equity investment from the UK government, which was offered to boost its capital ratio.[45] Barclays believed that "maintaining its independence from government was in the best interests of its shareholders".[46]

In July 2008, Barclays attempted to raise £4.5 billion through a non-traditional rights issue to shore up its weakened Tier 1 capital ratio, which involved a rights offer to existing shareholders and the sale of a stake to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. Only 19% of shareholders took up their rights leaving investors China Development Bank and Qatar Investment Authority with increased holdings in the bank.[47]

Barclays launched a further round of capital raising, approved by special resolution on 24 November 2008, as part of its overall plan to achieve higher capital targets set by the FSA to ensure it would remain independent.[48] Barclays raised £7 billion from investors from Abu Dhabi and Qatar.[49][50] Existing Barclays shareholders complained they were not offered full pre-emption rights in this round of capital raising, even threatening to revolt at the extraordinary meeting. Sheikh Mansour and Qatar Holding agreed to open up £500 million of their new holdings of reserve capital instruments for clawback. Existing investors now took this up.[51]

In 2008, Barclays bought the credit card brand Goldfish for US$70 million gaining 1.7 million customers, and US$3.9 billion in receivables.[52] Barclays also bought a controlling stake in the Russian retail bank Expobank for US$745 million.[53] Later in the year Barclays commenced its Pakistan operations with initial funding of US$100 million.[54]

Lehman Brothers acquisition

The former headquarters of Lehman Brothers in New York City, now owned by Barclays

On 16 September 2008, Barclays announced its agreement to purchase, subject to regulatory approval, the investment-banking and trading divisions of Lehman Brothers, a United States financial conglomerate that had filed for bankruptcy.[55] In the deal, Barclays also acquired the New York headquarters building of Lehman Brothers.

On 20 September 2008, a revised version of the deal, a US$1.35 billion (£700 million) plan for Barclays plc to acquire the core business of Lehman Brothers (mainly Lehman's US$960 million Midtown Manhattan office skyscraper, with responsibility for 9,000 former employees), was approved. After a seven-hour hearing, New York bankruptcy court Judge James Peck ruled: "I have to approve this transaction because it is the only available transaction. Lehman Brothers became a victim, in effect the only true icon to fall in a tsunami that has befallen the credit markets. This is the most momentous bankruptcy hearing I've ever sat through. It can never be deemed precedent for future cases. It's hard for me to imagine a similar emergency."[56]

Luc Despins, the creditors committee counsel, said: "The reason we're not objecting is really based on the lack of a viable alternative. We did not support the transaction because there had not been enough time to properly review it." In the amended agreement, Barclays would absorb US$47.4 billion in securities and assume US$45.5 billion in trading liabilities. Lehman's attorney Harvey R. Miller of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, said "the purchase price for the real estate components of the deal would be US$1.29 billion, including US$960 million for Lehman's New York headquarters and US$330 million for two New Jersey data centers. Lehman's original estimate valued its headquarters at US$1.02 billion but an appraisal from CB Richard Ellis this week valued it at US$900 million." Further, Barclays will not acquire Lehman's Eagle Energy unit, but will have entities known as Lehman Brothers Canada Inc, Lehman Brothers Sudamerica, Lehman Brothers Uruguay and its Private Investment Management business for high net-worth individuals. Finally, Lehman will retain US$20 billion of securities assets in Lehman Brothers Inc that are not being transferred to Barclays.[57] Barclays had a potential liability of US$2.5 billion to be paid as severance, if it chooses not to retain some Lehman employees beyond the guaranteed 90 days.[58][59]

In September 2014, Barclays was ordered to pay $15 million in settlement charges that alleged the bank had failed to maintain an adequate internal compliance system after its acquisition of Lehman Brothers during the 2008 financial crisis.[60]

2009 to present

The former headquarters of Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco, United States; Barclays sold Barclays Global Investors to BlackRock in 2009.

Reuters later reported that the British government would inject £40 billion (US$69 billion) into three banks including Barclays, which might seek over £7 billion.[61] Barclays later confirmed that it rejected the Government's offer and would instead raise £6.5 billion of new capital (£2 billion by cancellation of dividend and £4.5 billion from private investors).[49][62]

Barclays' share price fell 54% in June 2009 after the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), which had invested up to £4.75 billion in November 2008, sold 1.3 billion Barclays shares.[63] Qatar Holding sold a 3.5% stake worth £10 billion in October 2009,[64] and a further sale of warrants worth around £750 million in November 2012, but remains one of the bank's largest shareholders.[65] In July 2012, Barclays revealed that the FSA was investigating[65] whether the bank adequately disclosed fees paid to Qatar Investment Authority. In August 2012, the Serious Fraud Office announced an investigation into the Middle East capital raising. The Financial Services Authority announced an expansion of the investigation into the Barclays-Qatar deal in January 2013, focusing on the disclosure surrounding the ownership of the securities in the bank.[66]

In January 2009, the press reported that further capital may be required and that while the government might be willing to fund this, it may be unable to do so because the previous capital investment from the Qatari state was subject to a proviso that no third party might put in further money without the Qataris receiving compensation at the value the shares had commanded in October 2008.[67] In March 2009, it was reported that in 2008, Barclays received billions of dollars from its insurance arrangements with AIG, including US$8.5bn from funds provided by the United States to bail out AIG.[68][69]

On 12 June 2009, Barclays sold its Global Investors unit, which includes its exchange traded fund business, iShares, to BlackRock for US$13.5bn.[70] Standard Life sold Standard Life Bank plc to Barclays plc in October 2009. The sale was completed on 1 January 2010.[71] On 11 November 2009, Barclays and First Data, a global technology provider of information commerce, have entered into an agreement according to which Barclays will migrate a range of card portfolios to First Data's issuing and consumer finance platform.[72] On 13 February 2010, Barclays announced it would pay more than £2 billion in bonuses.[73] In March 2011 it was reported that Barclays had overtaken Santander UK to claim top spot as the UK's most complained against bank, with the country's official banking regulator, the Financial Services Authority having recorded 276,315 new customer complaints against Barclays Bank during the second half of 2010.[74] Barclays nevertheless ranks only third in the UK among the mainstream clearing banks in terms of the number of its branches. Inline with cut costs, Barclays cut 1,400 jobs during the first half of 2011 and will cut another 1,600 jobs for the rest of 2011.[75]

In March 2012, the trading names of Barclays Capital, Barclays Wealth and Barclays Corporate were each changed to simply "Barclays", as part of an effort to simplify the operations of the company and to promote greater integration between its divisions.[76]

In October 2012, Barclays announced it had agreed to buy the ING Direct UK business of the ING Group.[77] The transfer of the business to Barclays was approved at the High Court on 20 February 2013 and ING Direct was renamed Barclays Direct.[78] It is due to be integrated into the existing Barclays business within two years.

In February 2013, Barclays announced a net loss of £1.04 billion for 2012, its first annual loss in two decades, together with plans to cut 3,700 jobs, reduce annual costs by £1.7 billion, and scale back its retail banking activities in Europe and Asia.[79]

In May 2014 Barclays announced to cut 19,000 jobs in 3 years with 12,000 jobs cut in 2014. Investment banking will cut 2,000 jobs in 2014 and up to totally 7,000 jobs in 2016 makes the investment banking portion shrink from 50 percent in 2014 to 30 percent of Barclay's assets in 2016.[80]


Barclays' operations are organised within two business 'clusters': Corporate and Investment Banking and Wealth and Investment Management; and Retail and Business Banking.[2] The Corporate and Investment Banking and Wealth and Investment Management cluster comprises three business units: Corporate banking; [2]

Principal divisions and subsidiaries

The headquarters of Absa Group in Johannesburg, South Africa

Barclays' principal divisions and subsidiaries include:

  • Absa Group Limited (South Africa)
  • Barclaycard – Global credit card business
  • Barclays Africa
  • Barclays Bank plc – UK retail bank
  • Barclays Bank Delaware (formerly Barclaycard US, originally Juniper Bank, acquired 2003)
  • Barclays Corporate – Provides banking solutions to organisations with an annual turnover of more than £5 million, including Deposits and Liquidity, Cash Management and Trade, Financing, Foreign Exchange, Risk Management and Online Banking.[81] It serves over 8,000 companies across 23 countries.[81]
  • Barclays Croatia
  • Barclays Direct (Formerly ING Direct UK)
  • Barclays France
  • Barclays India
  • Barclays Indonesia[82][83]
  • Barclays Investment Bank
  • Barclays Private Clients International – subsidiary based in the Isle of Man with branches in the Channel Islands
  • Barclays Morocco
  • Barclays Mauritius
  • Barclays Pakistan
  • Barclays Partner Finance
  • Barclays Portugal (162 branches)[84]
  • Barclays Russia (17 branches)
  • Barclays Spain (550 branches)[84]
  • Barclays Bank LLC (Russia)
  • Barclays Shared Services (BSS)-chennai(India)
  • Barclays Technologies Centre China
  • Barclays Technologies Centre India
  • Barclays Technologies Centre Singapore
  • Barclays Technologies Centre Lithuania
  • Barclays Wealth – Provides stockbroking and offshore and private banking
  • Firstplus Financial Group plc

Branches and ATMs

A Barclays branch on Park Lane in London, United Kingdom

Barclays has over 4,750 branches across around 50 countries, of which around 1,600 are in the United Kingdom.[85] In the UK Barclays also offers some personal banking services through branches of the Post Office. Most Barclays branches have 24/7 ATMs. Barclays customers and the customers of many other banks can use Barclays ATMs for free in the UK, although in some other countries fees are charged. Barclays is a member of the Global ATM Alliance, an alliance of international banks which allows each banks' customers to use their ATM card or check card at all other member banks with no ATM access fees when travelling internationally.[86]

Senior management

Antony Jenkins, at the 2014 One Young World Conference in Dublin, Ireland.

The chairman is Sir David Walker, the Group chairman, who joined the Board on 1 September 2012 and became chairman from 1 November 2012.[87] The chief executive is Antony Jenkins, who had been a member of the executive committee since 2009 and comes from the retail side of the business.[88]

Executive Committee

One Churchill Place, Barclays' world headquarters in Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom

The current members of Barclays' Executive Committee are:

  • Antony Jenkins (Group chief executive, Barclays plc)
  • Eric Bommensath (Co-chief executive, Barclays Corporate & Investment Banking);
  • Mark Harding (Group General Counsel, Barclays plc
  • Robert Le Blanc (Chief Risk Officer, Barclays plc
  • Shaygan Kheradpir (Group Operations and Technology Officer, Barclays plc)(Already resigned and out)
  • Thomas King (Co-chief executive, Barclays Corporate & Investment Banking);
  • Sir Hector Sants (Head of Compliance and Government and Regulatory Relations)(Already resigned and out)
  • Irene McDermott Brown (Group Human Resources Director)
  • Valerie Soranno Keating (CEO Barclaycard, Barclays plc);
  • Hugh (Skip) McGee III ( chief executive America);
  • Maria Ramos (CEO, Absa);
  • Ashok Vaswani [89] Group Executive Chief, Retail and Business Banking);

Board of Directors

The current members of Barclays' board of directors are:[90]

  • Sir David Walker (Group Chairman)
  • Antony Jenkins (Group Chief Executive);
  • Tim Breedon (non-executive director);
  • Fulvio Conti (non-executive director);
  • David Booth (non-executive director);
  • Simon Fraser (non-executive director);
  • Frits van Paasschen (non-executive director);
  • Sir Michael Rake (Deputy Chairman);
  • Reuben Jeffery III (non-executive director);
  • Diane de Saint Victor (non-executive director);
  • Dambisa Moyo (non-executive director);
  • Sir John Sunderland (non-executive director).
  • Sunil Chirayath (Senior independent director)


A Barclays Cycle Hire docking station in central London

Barclays has sponsored the Premier League since 2001 (from 2001 to 2004 under the Barclaycard brand) 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. It also sponsored the 2008 Dubai Tennis Championships.[91] In 2009 it became the official sponsor of the ATP World Tour Finals.

Barclays is a major sponsor of professional golf tournaments worldwide, the Barclays Scottish Open on the PGA European Tour at Loch Lomond since 2002, the Barclays Classic on the PGA Tour from 2005–2006, which became The Barclays in 2007, the first of four playoff tournaments for the FedEx Cup, and since 2006 Barclays has been title sponsor to the Singapore Open, the richest national open in Asia, and since 2009 has been co-sanctioned with the European Tour. Barclays also sponsors PGA Tour star Phil Mickelson and European Tour player Darren Clarke.

Barclays is the sponsor of the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme in London, as part of a £25 million deal with Transport for London.[92][93]

Barclays also sponsors a multi use sports facility in Brooklyn, New York called the Barclays Center.


Involvement with South Africa under apartheid

Barclays bank was known overseas in the financial industry in the 1980s as 'Boerclaysbank', due to its continued involvement in South Africa during the apartheid regime.[94] A student boycott of the bank led to a drop in its share of the UK student market from 27 per cent to 15 per cent by the time it pulled out in 1986.[95]

In 2006, a South African activist group, the Jubilee South Africa backed Khulumani Support Group, sought 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.[96]

Financial support for the government in Zimbabwe

Barclays helps to fund President Robert Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe.[97] The most controversial of a set of loans provided by Barclays is the £30m it gives to help sustain land reforms that saw Mugabe seize white-owned farmland and drive more than 100,000 black workers from their homes. Opponents have called the bank's involvement a 'disgrace' and an 'insult' to the millions who have suffered human rights abuses.[98] Barclays spokesmen say the bank has had customers in Zimbabwe for decades and abandoning them now would make matters worse, "We are committed to continuing to provide a service to those customers in what is clearly a difficult operating environment".[99]

Barclays also provides two of Mugabe's associates with bank accounts, ignoring European Union sanctions on Zimbabwe.[100] The men are Elliot Manyika and minister of public service Nicholas Goche. Barclays has defended its position by insisting that the EU rules do not apply to its 67%-owned Zimbabwean subsidiary because it was incorporated outside the EU.[101]

Accusations of money laundering

In March 2009, Barclays was accused of violating international anti-money laundering laws. According to the NGO Global Witness, the Paris branch of Barclays held the account of Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang's son, Teodorin Obiang, even after evidence that Obiang had siphoned oil revenues from government funds emerged in 2004. According to Global Witness, Obiang purchased a Ferrari and maintains a mansion in Malibu with the funds from this account.[102]

A 2010 report by the Wall Street Journal described how Credit Suisse, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, and other banks were involved in helping the Alavi Foundation, Bank Melli, the Iranian government, and/or others circumvent US laws banning financial transactions with certain states. They did this by 'stripping' information out of wire transfers, thereby concealing the source of funds. Barclays settled with the government for US$298 million.[103]

Senior management bonuses

Bob Diamond, then the head of Barclays Capital, was set to receive a £14.8m bonus in 2008, as Barclays Capital made a profit of £2.3bn in the year, despite the subprime mortgage crisis in the US forcing the division to take a £1.6bn hit in 2007.[104]

Tax avoidance

In March 2009, Barclays obtained an injunction against The Guardian to remove from its website confidential leaked documents describing how SCM, Barclays' structured capital markets division, planned to use more than £11bn of loans to create hundreds of millions of pounds of tax benefits, via "an elaborate circuit of Cayman Islands companies, US partnerships and Luxembourg subsidiaries".[105] In an editorial on the issue, The Guardian pointed out that, due to the mismatch of resources, tax-collectors (HMRC) have now to rely on websites such as WikiLeaks to obtain such documents,[106] and indeed the documents in question have now appeared on WikiLeaks.[107][108] Separately, another Barclays whistleblower revealed several days later that the SCM transactions had produced between £900m and £1bn in tax avoidance in one year, adding that "The deals start with tax and then commercial purpose is added to them."[109]

In November 2013, development charity ActionAid launched a campaign calling on Barclays to stop promoting tax havens in Africa, highlighting how this can drain poorer countries of vital resources.[110]

2012 tax repayment

In February 2012 Barclays was forced to pay back £500 million in tax which it had tried to avoid. Barclays was accused by HMRC of designing two schemes that were intended to avoid substantial amounts of tax. Tax rules forced the bank to tell the UK authorities about its plans.[111]

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said that "We do not take today's action lightly, but the potential tax loss from this scheme and the history of previous abuse in this area mean that this is a circumstance where the decision to change the law with full retrospective effect is justified."[111]

One tax scheme involved Barclays claiming it should not have to pay corporation tax on profits made when buying back its own IOUs.[111] The second tax avoidance scheme, also designed by Barclays, involved investment funds claiming that non-taxable income entitled the funds to tax credits that could be reclaimed from HMRC. The treasury described this as "an attempt to secure 'repayment' from the Exchequer of tax that has not been paid".[111]

Conflicts of interest

In a 2011 Delaware Chancery Court decision, Barclays was criticised for failing to disclose conflicts of interest to its client, Del Monte, in connection with Del Monte's buyout, which was led by KKR.[112] Barclays subsequently agreed to pay US$24 million and give up a $22 million fee from Del Monte, as part of a settlement of a lawsuit brought on behalf of Del Monte shareholders.[113]

Customer satisfaction

Barclays was Britain's most complained about bank in the last six months of 2011. Between 1 July and 31 December, the financial ombudsman dealt with 11,524 complaints about Barclays, finding in favour of customers in 84% of cases.[114] The majority of complaints were about the bank's sales of payment protection insurance (PPI). Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking said that the figures showed a 36% reduction in new cases, which followed a 30% year-on-year reduction in FSA-reportable banking complaints.[114]

Rate-fixing scandal

In June 2012, as a result of an international investigation, Barclays Bank was fined a total of £290 million (US$450 million) for manipulating the daily settings of London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor). The United States Department of Justice and Barclays officially agreed that "the manipulation of the submissions affected the fixed rates on some occasions".[115] The bank was found to have made 'inappropriate submissions' of rates which formed part of the Libor and Euribor setting processes, sometimes to make a profit, and other times to make the bank look more secure during the financial crisis.[116] This happened between 2005 and 2009, as often as daily.[117]

The BBC said revelations concerning the fraud were "greeted with almost universal astonishment in the banking industry."[118] The UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA), which levied a fine of £59.5 million ($92.7 million), gave Barclays the biggest fine it had ever imposed in its history.[117] The FSA's director of enforcement described Barclays' behaviour as "completely unacceptable", adding "Libor is an incredibly important benchmark reference rate, and it is relied on for many, many hundreds of thousands of contracts all over the world."[116] The bank's chief executive Bob Diamond decided to give up his bonus as a result of the fine.[119] Liberal Democrat politician Lord Oakeshott criticised Diamond, saying: "If he had any shame he would go. If the Barclays board has any backbone, they'll sack him."[116] The US Department of Justice has also been involved, with "other financial institutions and individuals" under investigation.[116] On 2 July 2012, Marcus Agius resigned from the chairman position following the interest rate rigging scandal.[120] On 3 July 2012, Bob Diamond resigned with immediate effect, leaving Marcus Agius to fill his post until a replacement is found.[121] Within the space of a few hours, this was followed by the resignation of the Bank's chief operating officer, Jerry del Missier.[122] Barclays subsequently announced that Antony Jenkins, its existing chief executive of Global Retail & Business Banking would become group chief executive on 30 August 2012.[123] On 17 February 2014 the Serious Fraud Office charged three former bank employees Peter Charles Johnson, Jonathan James Mathew and Stylianos Contogoulas with manipulating Libor rates between June 2005 and August 2007.[124]

Staff diversity

Barclays bank has been criticised for under-representation of women and ethnic minorities in its most senior positions. By paying a 25 per cent premium to headhunters, Barclays bank has attempted to increase the representation of both women and ethnic minorities.[125]

Qatari capital raising regulatory investigations

Barclays' June and November 2008 capital raisings are the subject of investigations.[126] The Serious Fraud Office (United Kingdom) commenced its investigation in August 2012. In October 2012, the United States Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission informed Barclays they had commenced an investigation into whether the group's relationships with third parties who assist Barclays to win or retain business are compliant with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.[127] The Financial Services Authority announced an expansion of the investigation into the Barclays-Qatar deal in January 2013, focusing on the disclosure surrounding the ownership of the securities in the bank.[128]

Barclays had sought to raise capital privately, avoiding direct equity investment from the Government of the United Kingdom and, therefore, a bailout. The result was Abu Dhabi's £3.5 billion investment in the bank, a deal in which H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan made a profit of £3.5 billion.[129] Much of the focus to date has been on the injections by Qatar in June and November 2008, notably the so far unproven allegation that Barclays lent Qatar the money to invest in the bank. Other questions include what happened to the £110 million in fees paid by Barclays ostensibly to Sheikh Mansour, and the £66 million provided by Barclays to the Qataris for unexplained "advisory fees".[130]

US electricity market manipulation

In July 2013 US energy regulator the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ordered Barclays to pay £299m fine penalty for attempting to manipulate electricity market in the US. The fine by FERC relates to allegations in December 2008.[131]

Gold price manipulation

In May 2014 the Financial Conduct Authority fined the bank £26 million over systems and controls failures, and conflict of interest in relation to the bank and its customers in connection to the gold fixing during the period 2004-2013, and for manipulation of the gold price on 28 June 2012.[132]

US lawsuit alleging dark pool fraud

In June 2014 the U.S. state of New York filed a lawsuit against the bank alleging it defrauded and deceived investors with inaccurate marketing material about its unregulated trading system known as a dark pool. Specifically, the firm was accused of hiding the fact that Tradebot participated in the dark pool when they were in fact one of the largest players. The state, in its complaint, said it was being assisted by former Barclays executives and it was seeking unspecified damages. The bank's shares dropped 5% on news of the lawsuit, prompting an announcement to the London Stock Exchange by the bank saying it was taking the allegations seriously, and was cooperating with the New York attorney general.[133] A month later the bank filed a motion for the suit to be dismissed, saying there had been no fraud, no victims and no harm to anyone. The New York Attorney General's office issued a statement saying the attorney general was confident the motion would fail.[134]


A few of Barclay's competitors include The Bank of New York Mellon, Advent Software, QED Financial Systems, SunGard, Orangefield Columbus, Citco, State Street and Princeton Financial Systems.


  • Barclays Bank (1951). The Eagle Looks Back. a Silver Jubilee Anthology of Twenty-Five Years' Contributions to "the Spread Eagle," the Staff Magazine of Barclays Bank Limited. [with Illustrations]. London: Spread Eagle.  
  • Tuke, A. W.; Gillman, R. J. H. (1972). Barclays Bank Limited, 1926–1969: Some Recollections. London: Barclays Bank Ltd.  

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  • Gamble, Audrey Nona (1924). A History of the Bevan Family. London: Headley Brothers.  
  • Raychaudhuri, Tappan, Irfan Habib, & Dharma Kumar, eds. (1983) The Cambridge Economic History of India: Volume 2, c.1751-c.1970. (CUP Archive). ISBN 9780521228022
  • "Top 1000 World Banks 2010".  

External links

  • "Barclays plc Web Site". 
  • "Profile for Barclays plc". Yahoo! Finance. 
  • "Profile for Barclays plc". Google Finance. 
  • Barclays companies grouped at OpenCorporates
  • Barclays plc Charter, Diageo plc: U.K., Irish Equity Preview
  • Records of Barclays Bank Head Office Departments, 1896-1985
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