Barclays plc is one of the UK’s largest financial services groups, engaged primarily in banking. The group operates throughout 64 countries, including all the major financial centres. It generates profits of around £2bn.
Its corporate structure contains four international business groupings, reflecting developments in global financial services and changing customer needs.
Barclays is now putting the finishing touches to a strategic review of its global legal function to allow it to manage legal risk across the group more effectively. The review has led to a fundamental realignment of the legal function, bringing lawyers closer to the businesses.
This global revamp was inspired by Howard Trust, who took over as group general counsel and group secretary four years ago after a six-year stint as head of legal for BZW, the group’s former investment banking arm. Trust appointed specialist legal consultant Peter Coleman, a former legal director of Grand Met Estates, to assist and help develop a range of initiatives to encourage a consistent and cohesive approach across all of the group’s legal teams.
Trust’s vision for building what he calls a “community of lawyers” took shape after the UK stage of the review was finished in 1997. The global review is now near completion. Describing the purposes of the review, Trust says: “It will provide an environment of business lawyers with a customer orientation, who are able to move fast, offer solutions, and deliver cost-effective, commercial results in partnership with our business colleagues.”
One senior colleague credits Trust with reinventing Barclays’ legal function almost from scratch. “He’s really built it up over the past four years. He’s been very dynamic – he’s definitely one for active involvement.”
Heading the new structure in London is the general counsel’s office (GCO), which consists of a four-strong team of lawyers. Five legal directors heading the business grouping legal teams report to the businesses, but have a close functional relationship with Trust.
Barclays’ four key business groups, each containing various business units, are:
Retail Financial Services, which brings together all of the group’s retail interests around the world. Its business units include: UK Retail Banking; Barclaycard; International Premier, Private, Savings and Investment; Barclays Private Banking; Barclays Offshore Services; and the Savings and Investment businesses (providing life assurance, retail stockbroking, fund management and mutual funds services). Its lawyers are led by Jeremy Ogden.
Corporate banking, serving large business customers around the world. The grouping’s services range from conventional banking to specialist services such as foreign exchange, hedging, factoring, and treasury management. John Featherstone heads the legal team.
Barclays Capital, which conducts international investment banking business. The grouping deals with all manner of investors, including multinationals and governments. Legal team head is Deborah Morgan in London and Larry Noyer in New York.
Barclays Global Investors, which offers asset management services to institutions. The grouping operates from 13 offices in seven countries. Joanne Medero heads the legal team, which is based in San Francisco, with one lawyer in London.
Use of external lawyers is being addressed in the review. The number of law firms used in the UK was cut significantly. A global ‘matrix’ of firms is now being created.
The aims are to build stronger, more transparent relationships with firms, and ensure Barclays’ businesses can access the right legal “product” for the task, on a value-for-money basis, says Trust.
Head of legal, group general counsel and group secretary
|FTSE 100 ranking||10th|
|Market capitalisation||over £28bn|
|Legal function||Around 150 legal professionals (mostly qualified) worldwide|
|Head of legal||Howard Trust, group general counsel and group secretary|
|Reporting to||Group finance director|
|Main location for lawyers||London, Coventry, San Francisco, New York, Paris, Madrid, Athens, Lisbon, Lusaka, Hong Kong, Tokyo|
|Main UK law firm||Lovell White Durrant; also a small number of other firms in Barclays’ ‘UK law firm matrix’|