Barclays to become largest lender in Ireland as new hub opens

Group chief Jes Staley says Republic was ‘clear choice’ for bank’s European base

Kevin Wall, chief executive, Barclays Bank Ireland; Helen Keelan, chairperson, and Jes Staley, Barclays group chief executive, show Leo Varadkar around the bank’s new Dublin office. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Kevin Wall, chief executive, Barclays Bank Ireland; Helen Keelan, chairperson, and Jes Staley, Barclays group chief executive, show Leo Varadkar around the bank’s new Dublin office. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

 

Barclays chief executive Jes Staley said that the UK banking giant’s decision to set up its post-Brexit EU hub in the Republic was a “clear one” given the links between both countries, as he presided over the opening of the company’s new office in Dublin on Wednesday.

The London-listed bank confirmed it expects to double its employee count in Dublin to 300 by the end of 2019. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also attended the opening of the new office at One Molesworth Street in Dublin 2, which has 37,000sq ft (3,437sq m) of space.

Mr Staley told investors on October 24th that the group was “100 per cent” ready for a hard Brexit as he disclosed that the Central Bank of Ireland had given it the green light to expand its Dublin operation to maintain access to clients in the EU.

Barclays Bank Ireland, led by chief executive Kevin Wall, is set to become the largest lender based in the Republic as the unit becomes home to €224 billion of group assets within the next five months.

“This is a very exciting time for Barclays in Ireland as we look to leverage the successful platform that we have built over our past 40 years in Dublin to continue delivering our sophisticated suite of services to clients across Ireland and our other European markets,” Mr Staley said on Wednesday.

Unique links

“The choice of Ireland to be the focal point for our European operations was a clear one given the unique business and cultural links between the UK and Ireland and we are very proud to be playing a role in the continued evolution of financial services in Ireland.”

Separately, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney officially opened Aberdeen Standard Investments’s (ASI) Dublin office on Wednesday. Subject to regulatory approval, it will become one of the firm’s key EU business hubs, responsible for its network of eight branch offices across the continent.

ASI manages more than €100 billion on behalf of customers and clients based in Europe, excluding the UK. It manages about €7.5 billion on behalf of a wide range of Irish clients, including those of Standard Life International, which is now owned by ASI’s strategic partner Phoenix Group. It has been managing money for Irish clients since 1834.