Barclays cuts 450 UK jobs at private bank and call centre

LONDON (REUTERS) - Barclays is to cut about 450 jobs in Britain as it axes a third of the private bankers who look after wealthy clients and closes one of its call centres.

The bank said on Tuesday that it will reduce the number of relationship managers dealing with its wealthy British customers to about 180 from 275 as part of a restructuring of its wealth business announced in September.

"We are making changes to the way we service our affluent clients in the UK, and as a consequence a number of private banking and support roles will no longer be required," Barclays said in a statement.

Barclays said in September that it will stop offering wealth-management services in about 130 countries as it attempts to rein in costs, reduce complexity and lift profitability.

The move is part of a wider overhaul at the bank as chief executive Antony Jenkins seeks to improve its corporate culture after a string of scandals resulting in billions of pounds in fines and compensation payouts.

The bank plans to stop its full service for customers with less than 500,000 pounds (S$991,000) to invest, who will in future receive a "lighter touch" service while private bankers focus on the wealthiest customers.

Affected staff are expected to be notified by the end of this month.

Barclays Wealth employs about 8,000 staff and has about 200 billion pounds of assets under management, with about a quarter of those funds owned by British clients.

The bank also said on Tuesday that it will close a contact centre in Walsgrave, Coventry, in June next year.

The Unite trade union said that about 350 staff would be affected by the closure and that the move would have a severe impact on the local economy.

Barclays declined to say how many staff would go, but said some telephone-based jobs will move to other sites.

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