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Barclays Wealth Said to Plan to Exit Nations on Cost Cut

Barclays Plc plans to cut its wealth-management services in more than 100 nations as it seeks to improve profitability, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Barclays Wealth & Investment Management will cut the number of countries in which it operates to 70 from as many as 200, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private. The unit will stop seeking new business in the countries, where it typically doesn’t have staff or branches, and eventually end its client relationships, the person said.

European banks are cutting back the number of countries in which they operate as regulators scrutinize their compliance with anti-money laundering laws, making business costlier. Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s second-largest bank, plans to stop providing wealth-management services to clients domiciled in some countries to focus on growth markets.

“The wealth management landscape continues to evolve at pace,” Peter Horrell, Barclays chief executive officer of wealth and investment management, said in a statement. “We are responding to this by reducing complexity in our business, enabling us to focus on bringing the right services and products to clients in locations where we have scale.”

Employees at the unit of Barclays, Britain’s second-largest bank by assets based in London, were briefed on the new plan yesterday and today, according to the person.

In the U.K., it’s “likely that this will cause some roles to fall away,” the bank said in a separate statement. The company will “conduct the appropriate consultation processes and will ensure that we do everything we can to support those affected,” it said.

The Financial Times reported the news earlier today.

-- Editors: Simone Meier, Dylan Griffiths

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