Awards for Distinction 2014 – Middle East

AFD2014_Best Private Bank - Middle East


Cedric Lizin

Cedric Lizin
Head of Middle East and North Africa and Head of Business, Japan
Barclays Wealth & Investment Management

A wealth management market that is home to an estimated 570,000 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) – a figure which represents a year-on-year increase of 16% – and US$2.1 trillion in HNWI wealth, the Middle East is a crucial region for all ambitious private banks. As the region’s second generation business owners look to balance bequeathed assets with investment goals, all the while satiating a need for transition strategies, exceptional opportunities are being created for private banks.

With more than a century-long presence in the Middle East, Barclays has long met the needs of this market. Considering the Middle East as a priority market, the British lender has excelled at deepening its share of wallet in the region and has found considerable success with the region’s ultra-high net worth (UHNW) segment.

Understanding that locality is tantamount to providing superior service, Barclays’ regional office is headquartered in Dubai, though the bank’s operations extend to Abu Dhabi and Doha with booking centres in London, Geneva, and Monaco. At present, 40 private banking relationship managers service the region from the five countries and Cedric Lizin, the Head of Middle East and North Africa and Head of Business, Japan for Barclays Wealth & Investment Management, affirms that the private bank plans to increase headcount to forge deeper ties with its clients.

A key differentiating factor for the bank is its innovative offering, particularly the open architecture of its forex-related product suite. The Barx FX and Barx Comet proprietary technology platforms provide bankers and advisors with direct access to forex and structured products, allowing greater execution speeds and the opportunity to trade at smaller ticket sizes. As a result of introducing this solution, the time taken to execute highly complex transactions, such as a reverse convertible trade, is reduced to the click of a button.

As an adopter of innovation, Barclays employs behavioural finance as part of its investment philosophy. Testament to an instinctive understanding of what clients truly want, the “Financial Personality Assessment” tool combines the science of behavioural finance and psychology with modern portfolio management to create, not only accurate but, ever-evolving client profiles. The survey, which involves a detailed personality assessment of a client, is updated annually and at significant milestones – helping Barclays solidify client relationships through the identification of dynamic client needs.

This commitment to the region, coupled with a client list that boasts nine of the top ten in the Forbes World’s Richest Arabs 2014 list cements Barclays as the winner of this year’s Best Private Bank – Middle East award.