London-based Barclays PLC is one of the largest banks in the U.K. Its businesses encompass retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services. It's one of the few major U.K. banks that has yet to receive direct state support amid the global financial crisis.
In the teeth of the downturn, Barclays bought Lehman's North American investment-banking operations, whose employees were known for being tight-knit and fiercely loyal. The integration of Lehman's aggressive shop with the bank's lower-key approach is expected to be difficult. Barclays reduced staff in investment banking and investment management but Barclays Capital, which includes the Lehman operations, hired about 2,000 people since the start of 2009 to build up its prime brokerage, equities and advisory businesses in Europe and Asia. Barclays plans to hire an additional 1,000 staff in the near term. Even so, after previous layoffs, head count is down compared with the end of 2008. In 2009, Barclays sold its Barclays Global Investors unit, along with its successful iShares exchange-traded funds business, to BlackRock Inc. Barclays has been on the hunt for a retail bank in the U.S., possibly one of the large regionals.
With a history that spans three centuries, Barclays has a culture that is client- and team-oriented. Barclay's president Robert Diamond who heads Barclays Capital's investment banking and investment management is reported to have a "no-jerk rule."