Barclays hit with departures of international advisers

Brokers with international clients have been moving to competitors in recent months as Barclays curtails its international business

Apr 3, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

By Mason Braswell

Barclays PLC's U.S. wealth management group, which has about 260 financial advisers, has faced a series of departures as the firm goes back on plans to build out a large international business serving wealthy Latin America clients.

The firm said last September that it would shut down wealth management locations in about 130 countries by 2016.

Around the same time, advisers in the United States were told that they wouldn't be allowed to service client accounts based in Latin America as of June 30.

The firm has about 20 advisers focused almost exclusively on Latin America, many of whom were hired in 2011.

Between 50 and 60 advisers have some portion of their business in Latin America or internationally, according to Ileana Platt, a former Barclays adviser who joined in 2012 from Credit Suisse Group AG and moved to RBC Wealth Management this year.

“Everybody is just heading out,” she said. “A lot of my colleagues have gone to competitors.”

Ms. Platt had about $240 million in assets and $2 million in production.

About two-thirds of her clients were based in Latin America, she said.

“I needed to find a place where I could continue serving them,” Ms. Platt said.

Barclays spokeswoman Kerrie Cohen declined to comment.

RBC Wealth Management has picked up five Barclays advisers with international business so far this year, according to spokeswoman Ann Wasik.

Wells Fargo Advisors hired two Barclays advisers in February, according to spokeswoman Rachelle Rowe.

The firm's managing director for Latin America, Daniel Esslinger, left for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in December after about two years in Barclays' Miami office, according to records with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.

Narciso Munoz, who joined Barclays in October 2011, left the firm in January to go to Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., according to Finra records.

The firm has yet to report results for the first quarter, so it is unclear whether the departures will ultimately result in a drop in head count. As recently as a month ago, the firm was still quoting 260 as a rough approximation of the number of representatives at the firm.

Andrew Parish, a managing director at Axiom Consulting Group and founder of the recruiting service AdviserHUB, said that his firm has been on a recruiting “campaign” to help Barclays advisers doing international business move and has assigned bilingual staff to Miami and New York, which have a high concentration of international advisers. Fifteen advisers have departed from Barclays so far this year, Mr. Parish said, citing data from Meridian-IQ.

International business can be lucrative for firms that make the expansion, but it brings additional risk related to vetting clients and prospects, and some firms have cut back in recent years. Bank of America Merrill Lynch sold its international unit to Julius Baer in 2012.

The recruiting offers for international advisers are less than or equal to those for advisers with a domestic book of business because of the additional due diligence required, Mr. Parish said.

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