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Barclays to shut wealth management services in 130 countries

Logos are seen outside a branch of Barclays bank in London July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Logos are seen outside a branch of Barclays bank in London July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

(Reuters) - Barclays Plc will stop offering wealth management services in about 130 countries by 2016 and cut jobs in the unit as part of an effort to rein in costs and boost profit.

"This is part of our new strategy, focusing on reducing complexity and competing where we can win," a Barclays spokesman said.

Barclays Wealth employs about 8,000 staff, and the spokesman said there is unlikely to be a significant change to that number although some jobs will go as part of new structure and technology.

Barclays announced plans in April to restructure its wealth business so it works more closely with retail and corporate banking divisions and rolled out its new strategy this week after appointing Peter Horrell as chief executive of its wealth and investment management unit on Monday.

Horrell had held the position on an interim basis since May, when his predecessor Tom Kalaris was ousted.

Profitability at Barclays' wealth business continues to lag rivals and the targets of CEO Antony Jenkins. The division posted a return on equity of just 2.5 percent in the first half of this year.

The plan will see the Wealth unit focus on 70 markets, which it estimates covers 86 percent of the global wealth market, and leave countries where it lacks scale or which are unprofitable.

Under the plan the bank will stop full-service wealth management for thousands of customers with between 100,000 and 500,000 pounds to invest. They will be served by a "lighter touch" new segment called "Private Clients".

Other banks are also restructuring in wealth management and Credit Suisse said this week it will pull back from some countries.

Barclays Wealth, which has about 200 billion pounds ($321.36 billion) of assets under management, aims to cut the number of its "booking centers", which enable clients to trade and book assets in particular jurisdictions, to about a dozen from 17.

(Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore and Steve Slater in London; Editing by David Cowell)

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