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Barclays expands private bank to France and Italy

LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - Barclays has expanded its private banking business to France and Italy as it seeks to grow its European wealth business in the wake of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The bank said on Monday that it has appointed Bernard Corneau and Carlo Baronio as heads of private bank coverage in France and Italy respectively, both based out of the lender’s investment banking offices in those countries.

The duo will be supported by Barclays’ newly established European hub in Dublin as the bank, in common with many other lenders in Europe, shifts from serving corporate and wealthy individual customers out of a London hub to a more pan-European model.

The pair will target the so-called ultra high-net worth end of the market, defined as clients with investable assets of around $100 million, as well as so-called family offices that look after the wealth of rich families or individuals.

Barclays does not disclose profits or assets under management for its private bank, making it hard to gauge the success of a business that faces tough competition from European rivals likewise looking to grow.

“Despite the COVID-19 crisis, we have continued to see strong growth in assets under management,” Jean-Christophe Gerard, chief executive of Barclays private bank, told Reuters.

“Europe remains the second-biggest market for high net worth after the U.S., roughly 20% of the total global market, and we see opportunities to grow our market share in countries such as France and Italy where there is still strong creation of wealth.”

Reuters reported in October the bank’s plans to expand its private bank business in Europe, taking advantage of its investment bank’s ties to wealthy entrepreneurs, family offices and businesses.

“We are also thinking about other European markets, such as Germany, where we can leverage our existing relationships through our corporate and investment bank,” Gerard said.

Reporting by Lawrence White; Editing by Susan Fenton

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