Barclays plc
FormerlyBarclays Bank plc (1896–1985)[1]
Company typePublic
Founded17 November 1690; 333 years ago (1690-11-17) in the City of London, Kingdom of England
One Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, England, United Kingdom
Key people
RevenueIncrease £25.378 billion (2023)[2]
Decrease £6.557 billion (2023)[2]
Decrease £5.323 billion (2023)[2]
Total assetsDecrease £1.477 trillion (2023)[2]
Total equityIncrease £71.864 billion (2023)[2]
Number of employees
81,000 (2023)[3]
  • Barclays UK
  • Barclays International

Barclays plc (/ˈbɑːrkliz/, occasionally /-lz/) is a British multinational universal bank, headquartered in London, England. Barclays operates as two divisions, Barclays UK and Barclays International, supported by a service company, Barclays Execution Services.[4]

Barclays traces its origins to the goldsmith banking business established in the City of London in 1690.[5] James Barclay became a partner in the business in 1736. In 1896, twelve banks in London and the English provinces, including Goslings Bank, Backhouse's Bank and Gurney, Peckover and Company, united as a joint-stock bank under the name Barclays and Co. Over the following decades, Barclays expanded to become a nationwide bank. In 1967, Barclays deployed the world's first cash dispenser. Barclays has made numerous corporate acquisitions, including of London, Provincial and South Western Bank in 1918, British Linen Bank in 1919, Mercantile Credit in 1975, the Woolwich in 2000 and the North American operations of Lehman Brothers in 2008.[6]

Barclays has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange. It is considered a systemically important bank by the Financial Stability Board.[7] According to a 2011 paper, Barclays was the most powerful transnational corporation in terms of ownership and thus corporate control over global financial stability and market competition, with Axa and State Street Corporation taking the 2nd and 3rd positions, respectively.[8][9] Barclays operates in over 40 countries, employs over 80,000 people and is the fifth largest bank in Europe by total assets.[10]

Barclays UK comprises the British retail banking operations, consumer credit card business, wealth management business, and corporate banking for small, medium and large-sized businesses in the UK.[11] Barclays International consists of Barclays Corporate and Investment Bank (formerly known as Barclays Capital) and the Consumer, Cards & Payments business. The investment banking business provides advisory, financing and risk management services to large companies, institutions and government clients. It is a primary dealer in Gilts, U.S. Treasury securities and various European Government bonds.


The bank's name has never included an apostrophe (Barclay's) in its spelling. It was first registered in 1896 as "Barclay and Company, Limited", changed to "Barclays Bank Limited" in 1917 and to "Barclays Bank PLC" in 1982.[12]


1690 to 1900

Barclays and Co. cheque for 39 pounds, 4 shillings, and 2 pence, issued in London by Messrs Barclay and Tritton, 1793, on display at the British Museum in London

Barclays traces its origins back to 17 November 1690, when John Freame, a Quaker, and Thomas Gould, started trading as goldsmith bankers in Lombard Street, London. The name "Barclays" became associated with the business in 1736, when Freame's son-in-law James Barclay became a partner.[13] In 1728, the bank moved to 54 Lombard Street, identified by the "Sign of the Black Spread Eagle", which in subsequent years would become a core part of the bank's visual identity.[14]

The Barclay family were connected with slavery, both as proponents and opponents. David and Alexander Barclay were engaged in the slave trade in 1756.[15] David Barclay of Youngsbury (1729–1809), on the other hand, was a noted abolitionist, and Verene Shepherd, the Jamaican historian of diaspora studies, singles out the case of how he chose to free his slaves in that colony.[16]

In 1776, the firm was styled "Barclay, Bevan and Bening" and remained so until 1785, when another partner, John Tritton, who had married a Barclay, was admitted, and the business then became "Barclay, Bevan, Bening and Tritton".[17] In 1896, twelve houses in London and the English provinces, notably Goslings and Sharpe, Backhouse's Bank of Darlington[18] and Gurney's Bank of Norwich (the latter two of which also had their roots in Quaker families), united to form Barclays and Co., a joint-stock bank, which at its formation held around one quarter of deposits in English private banks.[19]

1900 to 1945

The longstanding head office of Barclays on the corner of Lombard Street and Gracechurch Street (lower left) before its demolition in the late 1980s
Barclays branch in Sutton, southern Greater London, which was originally a branch of London and Provincial prior to acquisition by Barclays

Between 1905 and 1916, Barclays extended its branch network by making acquisitions of small English banks. Further expansion followed in 1918 when Barclays amalgamated with the London, Provincial and South Western Bank, and in 1919, when the British Linen Bank was acquired by Barclays, although the British Linen Bank retained a separate board of directors and continued to issue its own banknotes (see Banknotes of the pound sterling).[20]

In 1925, the Colonial Bank, National Bank of South Africa and the Anglo-Egyptian Bank were amalgamated and Barclays operated its overseas operations under the name Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas)—Barclays DCO.[21] In 1938, Barclays acquired the first Indian exchange bank, the Central Exchange Bank of India, which had opened in London in 1936 with the sponsorship of Central Bank of India.[22]

In 1941, during the German occupation of France, a branch of Barclays in Paris, headed by Marcel Cheradame, worked directly with the invading force.[23] Senior officials at the bank volunteered the names of Jewish employees, as well as ceding an estimated one hundred Jewish bank accounts to the German occupiers.[24] The Paris branch used its funds to increase the operational power of a large quarry that helped produce steel for the Germans. There was no evidence of contact between the head office in London and the branch in Paris during the occupation. Marcel Cheradame was kept as the branch manager until he retired in the sixties.[23]

1946 to 1980

In May 1958, Barclays was the first UK bank to appoint a female bank manager. Hilda Harding managed Barclays' Hanover Square branch in London until her retirement in 1970.[25]

A plaque in Enfield, United Kingdom commemorating the installation of the world's first cash machine by Barclays in 1967

In 1965, Barclays established a US affiliate, Barclays Bank of California, in San Francisco.[26][27]

Barclays launched the first credit card in the UK, Barclaycard, in 1966. On 27 June 1967, Barclays deployed the world's first cash machine, in Enfield; Barclays Bank, Enfield.[28][29] The British actor Reg Varney was the first person to use the machine.[29]

Barclays Bank D.C.O Act 1957
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to make provision respecting the articles or regulations for the government of Barclays Bank D.C.O. to make provision with respect to its general meetings to increase its authorised capital and for other purposes.
Citation5 & 6 Eliz. 2. c. vii
Royal assent6 June 1957
Other legislation
Repealed byBarclays Bank Act 1984
Status: Repealed
Text of statute as originally enacted

In 1969, a planned merger with Martins Bank and Lloyds Bank was blocked by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, but the acquisition of Martins Bank on its own was later permitted. Also that year, the British Linen Bank subsidiary was sold to the Bank of Scotland in exchange for a 25% stake, a transaction that became effective from 1971. Barclays DCO changed its name to Barclays Bank International in 1971.[21]

From 1972 until 1980, a minority stake in Banca Barclays Castellini SpA, Milan was owned by the Castellini family. In 1980, Barclays Bank International acquired the remaining stake in Barclays Castellini from the Castellini family.[30]

Barclays Bank International Act 1974
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to provide for the manner in which Barclays Bank International Limited may alter, revoke or add to its objects; and for other purposes.
Citation1974 c. ix
Royal assent23 May 1974
Other legislation
Repealed byBarclays Bank Act 1984
Status: Repealed
Text of statute as originally enacted

In August 1975, following the secondary banking crash, Barclays acquired Mercantile Credit Company.[31]

1980 to 2000s

Barclays head office after reconstruction in 1992 on a design by GMW Architects,[32] photographed in 2008 before subsequent remodeling

Barclays Bank International expanded its business in 1980 to include commercial credit and took over American Credit Corporation, renaming it Barclays American Corporation.[33]

Barclays Bank Act 1984
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to provide for the reorganisation of the Barclays group of companies by the transfer to Barclays Bank International Limited of the undertaking of Barclays Bank PLC; and for other purposes.
Citation1984 c. x
Royal assent26 June 1984
Other legislation
  • Barclays Bank D.C.O. Act 1957
  • Barclays Bank International Act 1974
Status: Current legislation
Text of statute as originally enacted

During 1985 Barclays Bank and Barclays Bank International merged,[34] and as part of the corporate reorganisation the former Barclays Bank plc became a group holding company,[21] renamed Barclays Group Plc,[34] and UK retail banking was integrated under the former BBI, and renamed Barclays Bank PLC from Barclays Bank Limited.[21]

In response to the Big Bang on the London Stock Exchange, in 1986 Barclays bought UK stockbroker de Zoete & Bevan and jobbing firm Wedd Durlacher (formerly Wedd Jefferson).[35] They were merged with Barclays Merchant Bank to form Barclays de Zoete Wedd (BZW).[36] Also that year Barclays sold its South African business operating under the Barclays National Bank name after protests against Barclays' involvement in South Africa and its apartheid government.[37]

Barclays introduced the Connect card in June 1987, the first debit card in the United Kingdom.[38][39]

In 1988, Barclays sold Barclays Bank of California, which at that time was the 17th-largest bank in California measured by assets, to Wells Fargo for US$125 million in cash.[40]

Edgar Pearce, the "Mardi Gra Bomber", began a terror campaign against the bank and the supermarket chain Sainsbury's in 1994.[41]

Barclays bought Wells Fargo Nikko Investment Advisors (WFNIA) in 1996 and merged it with BZW Investment Management to form Barclays Global Investors.[42] Bob Diamond took charge of the investment banking businesses that year.[43]

Two years later, in 1998, the BZW business was broken up and the Equity and Corporate Finance Divisions were sold to Credit Suisse First Boston: Barclays retained the debt-focused Fixed Income business and Structured Capital Markets which formed the foundation of the rebranded Barclays Capital (BarCap).[44][45] Barclays Capital had offices in over 29 countries and employed over 20,000 people, with over 7,000 people working in its IT division.[10]

In 1998, Barclays Bank agreed to pay $3.6m to Jews whose assets were seized from French branches of the British-based bank during World War II.[46] Barclays, along with seven French banks, was named in a lawsuit filed in New York on behalf of Jews who were unable to reclaim money they deposited during the Nazi era.[46]

In an unusual move as part of the trend at the time for free ISPs, Barclays launched an internet service in 1999 called This entity was acquired by British Telecom in 2001.[47]

In the 1990s, Barclays helped to fund President Robert Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe.[48] The most controversial of a set of loans provided by Barclays was the £30 million it gave to help sustain land reforms that saw Mugabe seize white-owned farmland and drive more than 100,000 black workers from their homes. Opponents have called the bank's involvement a "disgrace" and an "insult" to the millions who have suffered human rights abuses.[49] A Barclays spokesman said the bank has had customers in Zimbabwe for decades and abandoning them now would make matters worse, "We are committed to continuing to provide a service to those customers in what is clearly a difficult operating environment".[50] Barclays also provided two of Mugabe's associates with bank accounts, ignoring European Union sanctions on Zimbabwe.[51] The men are Elliot Manyika and minister of public service Nicholas Goche. Barclays has defended its position by insisting that the EU rules do not apply to its 67%-owned Zimbabwean subsidiary because it was incorporated outside the EU.[52]

In August 2000, Barclays took over the recently de-mutualised Woolwich PLC, formerly the Woolwich Building Society,[53] in a £5.4 billion acquisition. Woolwich thus joined the Barclays group of companies, and the Woolwich name was retained after the acquisition. The company's head office remained in Bexleyheath, south-east London, four miles (6 km) from the original head office in Woolwich.[54]

A Barclays branch in Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom

Barclays closed 171 branches in the UK in 2001, many of them in rural communities: Barclays called itself "The Big Bank", but this name was quickly given a low profile after a series of embarrassing PR stunts.[55]

On 31 October 2001, Barclays and CIBC agreed to combine their Caribbean operations to establish a joint venture company known as FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB).[56]

In April 2002, Barclays enacted a 4:1 share split.[57]

In 2003, Barclays bought the American credit card company Juniper Bank from CIBC, re-branding it as "Barclays Bank Delaware".[58] The same year saw the acquisition of Banco Zaragozano, the 11th-largest Spanish bank.[59]

Barclays took over sponsorship of the Premier League from Barclaycard in 2004.[60] In May 2005, Barclays moved its group headquarters from Lombard Street in the City of London to One Churchill Place in Canary Wharf. Also in 2005 Barclays sealed a £2.6bn takeover of Absa Group Limited, South Africa's largest retail bank, acquiring a 54% stake on 27 July 2005.[61]

Then in 2006, Barclays purchased the HomEq Servicing Corporation for US$469 million in cash from Wachovia Corp.[62] That year also saw the acquisition of the financial website CompareTheLoan[63] and Barclays announcing plans to rebrand Woolwich branches as Barclays, migrating Woolwich customers onto Barclays accounts and migrating back-office processes onto Barclays systems—the Woolwich brand was to be used for Barclays mortgages.[64] Barclays also exited retail-banking operations in the Caribbean-region which extended as far back as 1837 through selling of its joint venture stake in FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB) to CIBC for between $989 million and $1.08 billion.[65]

Abandoned merger with ABN AMRO

In March 2007, Barclays announced plans to merge with ABN AMRO, the largest bank in the Netherlands.[66][67] However, on 5 October 2007 Barclays announced that it had abandoned its bid,[68] citing inadequate support by ABN shareholders. Fewer than 80% of shares had been tendered to Barclays' cash-and-shares offer.[69] This left the consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland Group free to proceed with its counter-bid for ABN AMRO.[70]

To help finance its bid for ABN AMRO, Barclays sold a 3.1% stake to China Development Bank and a 3% stake to Temasek Holdings, the investment arm of the Singaporean government.[71]

Also in 2007, Barclays agreed to purchase Equifirst Corporation from Regions Financial Corporation for US$225 million.[72] That year also saw Barclays Personal Investment Management announcing the closure of their operation in Peterborough and its re-siting to Glasgow, laying off nearly 900 members of staff.[73]


On 30 August 2007, Barclays was forced to borrow £1.6 billion (US$3.2 billion) from the Bank of England sterling standby facility. This is made available as a last-resort when banks are unable to settle their debts to other banks at the end of daily trading.[74] Despite rumours about liquidity at Barclays, the loan was necessary due to a technical problem with their computerised settlement network. A Barclays spokesman was quoted as saying "There are no liquidity issues in the U.K markets. Barclays itself is flush with liquidity."[75]

On 9 November 2007, Barclays shares dropped 9% and were even temporarily suspended for a short period of time, due to rumours of a £4.8 billion (US$10 billion) exposure to bad debts in the US. However, a Barclays spokesman denied the rumours.[76]

In February 2008, Barclays bought the credit card brand Goldfish for US$70 million gaining 1.7 million customers, and US$3.9 billion in receivables.[77] Barclays also bought a controlling stake in the Russian retail bank Expobank for US$745 million.[78] Later in the year Barclays commenced its Pakistan operations with initial funding of US$100 million.[79]

Barclays sought to raise capital privately, avoiding direct equity investment from the UK government, which was offered to boost its capital ratio.[80] Barclays believed that "maintaining its independence from government was in the best interests of its shareholders".[81]

In July 2008, Barclays attempted to raise £4.5 billion through a non-traditional rights issue to shore up its weakened Tier 1 capital ratio, which involved a rights offer to existing shareholders and the sale of a stake to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. Only 19% of shareholders took up their rights leaving investors China Development Bank and Qatar Investment Authority with increased holdings in the bank.[82]

Reuters reported in October 2008 that the British government would inject £40 billion (US$69 billion) into three banks including Barclays, which might seek over £7 billion.[83] Barclays later confirmed that it rejected the Government's offer and would instead raise £6.5 billion of new capital (£2 billion by cancellation of dividend and £4.5 billion from private investors).[84][85]

Barclays launched a further round of capital raising, approved by special resolution on 24 November 2008, as part of its overall plan to achieve higher capital targets set by the UK's Financial Services Authority to ensure it would remain independent.[86] Barclays raised £7 billion from investors from Abu Dhabi and Qatar.[84][87] Existing Barclays shareholders complained they were not offered full pre-emption rights in this round of capital raising, even threatening to revolt at the extraordinary meeting. Sheikh Mansour and Qatar Holding agreed to open up £500 million of their new holdings of reserve capital instruments for clawback. Existing investors now took this up.[88]

Lehman Brothers acquisition

The former headquarters of Lehman Brothers in New York City, now owned by Barclays
The New York building at night

Bob Diamond led the effort to purchase the North American business of Lehman Brothers after its bankruptcy in September 2008, securing Barclays a presence in U.S. Equities and Investment Banking.[89] On 16 September 2008, Barclays announced its agreement to purchase, subject to regulatory approval, the investment-banking and trading divisions of Lehman Brothers (including its New York skyscraper) which was a United States financial conglomerate that had filed for bankruptcy.[90]

On 20 September 2008, a revised version of the deal, a US$1.35 billion (£700 million) plan for Barclays to acquire the core business of Lehman Brothers (mainly Lehman's US$960 million Midtown Manhattan office skyscraper, with responsibility for 9,000 former employees), was approved. After a seven-hour hearing, New York bankruptcy court Judge James Peck ruled:

I have to approve this transaction because it is the only available transaction. Lehman Brothers became a victim, in effect the only true icon to fall in a tsunami that has befallen the credit markets. This is the most momentous bankruptcy hearing I've ever sat through. It can never be deemed precedent for future cases. It's hard for me to imagine a similar emergency.[91]

Luc Despins, the creditors committee counsel, said: "The reason we're not objecting is really based on the lack of a viable alternative. We did not support the transaction because there had not been enough time to properly review it." In the amended agreement, Barclays would absorb US$47.4 billion in securities and assume US$45.5 billion in trading liabilities. Lehman's attorney Harvey R. Miller of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, said "the purchase price for the real estate components of the deal would be US$1.29 billion, including US$960 million for Lehman's New York headquarters and US$330 million for two New Jersey data centres. Lehman's original estimate valued its headquarters at US$1.02 billion but an appraisal from CB Richard Ellis this week valued it at US$900 million." Further, Barclays will not acquire Lehman's Eagle Energy unit, but will have entities known as Lehman Brothers Canada Inc, Lehman Brothers Sudamerica, Lehman Brothers Uruguay and its Private Investment Management business for high-net-worth individuals. Finally, Lehman will retain US$20 billion of securities assets in Lehman Brothers Inc that are not being transferred to Barclays.[92] Barclays had a potential liability of US$2.5 billion to be paid as severance, if it chooses not to retain some Lehman employees beyond the guaranteed 90 days.[93][94]

In September 2014, Barclays was ordered to pay $15 million in settlement charges that alleged the bank had failed to maintain an adequate internal compliance system after its acquisition of Lehman Brothers during the 2008 financial crisis.[95]

Qatar capital raising

In January 2009, the press reported that further capital may be required and that while the government might be willing to fund this, it may be unable to do so because the previous capital investment from the Qatari state was subject to a proviso that no third party might put in further money without the Qataris receiving compensation at the value the shares had commanded in October 2008.[96] In March 2009, it was reported that in 2008, Barclays received billions of dollars from its insurance arrangements with AIG, including US$8.5 billion from funds provided by the United States to bail out AIG.[97][98]

Barclays' share price fell 54% in June 2009 after the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), which had invested up to £4.75 billion in November 2008, sold 1.3 billion Barclays shares.[99] Qatar Holding sold a 3.5% stake worth £10 billion in October 2009,[100] and a further sale of warrants worth around £750 million in November 2012, but remains one of the bank's largest shareholders.[101] In July 2012, Barclays revealed that the FSA was investigating[101] whether the bank adequately disclosed fees paid to Qatar Investment Authority. In August 2012, the Serious Fraud Office announced an investigation into the Middle East capital raising. The Financial Services Authority announced an expansion of the investigation into the Barclays-Qatar deal in January 2013, focusing on the disclosure surrounding the ownership of the securities in the bank.[102]

Barclays' June and November 2008 capital raisings are the subject of investigations.[103] The UK's Serious Fraud Office commenced its investigation in August 2012. In October 2012, the United States Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission informed Barclays they had commenced an investigation into whether the group's relationships with third parties who assist Barclays to win or retain business are compliant with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.[104]

Barclays had sought to raise capital privately, avoiding direct equity investment from the Government of the United Kingdom and, therefore, a bailout. The result was Abu Dhabi's £3.5 billion investment in the bank, a deal in which Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan made a profit of £3.5 billion.[105] Much of the focus to date has been on the injections by Qatar in June and November 2008, notably the so far unproven allegation that Barclays lent Qatar the money to invest in the bank. Other questions include what happened to the £110 million in fees paid by Barclays ostensibly to Sheikh Mansour, and the £66 million provided by Barclays to the Qataris for unexplained "advisory fees".[106]

In June 2017, following a five-year investigation by the UK's Serious Fraud Office covering Barclays' activities during the financial crisis of 2007–2008, former CEO John Varley and three former colleagues, Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath, were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and the provision of unlawful financial assistance in connection with capital raising.[107][108] The executives were cleared in February 2020.[109]

In February 2018, the Serious Fraud Office charged Barclays with "unlawful financial assistance" related to billions of pounds raised from the Qatar deal.[110]

On 8 June 2020, Barclays was also accused of deceit by a British businesswoman Amanda Staveley's firm PCP Capital. The company sued the bank in a £1.5 billion lawsuit, claiming that it had "deliberately misled" the market over the terms of its capital raising deal with Qatar. PCP alleged that Qatar Holdings was offered a "completely different" deal than that offered to Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, who according to Amanda Staveley was introduced to Barclays by PCP.[111] However, during the hearing in the High Court of London, the Barclays lawyer, Jeffery Onions accused Staveley of "significantly exaggerating" her business relationship with the Abu Dhabi sheikh and of creating a "hustle" by getting involved in a crucial capital raising.[112] Staveley and PCP Capital subsequently reduced the amount of their claim but lost the case in the High Court.[113]


The former headquarters of Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco, United States. Barclays sold Barclays Global Investors to BlackRock in 2009.

On 12 June 2009, Barclays sold its Global Investors unit, which included its exchange-traded fund business, iShares, to BlackRock for US$13.5 billion.[114] Standard Life sold Standard Life Bank to Barclays in October 2009. The sale was completed on 1 January 2010.[115] Barclays sold its Retail Banking unit in Spain to CaixaBank in 2014. With the sale, Caixabank acquired around 550,000 new retail and private banking clients and 2,400 employees.[116][117][118]

Barclays announced in June 2015 that it would sell its US wealth and investment management business to Stifel for an undisclosed fee.[119] The bank announced in May 2017 that it would sell £1.5 billion worth of shares of its Barclays Africa Group subsidiary as part of its strategy to refocus its business from Africa to the UK and US.[120] In September 2017, Barclays sold off the last part of its retail banking segment on continental Europe after selling its French retail, wealth and investment management operations to AnaCap.[121]

Accusations of money laundering

In March 2009, Barclays was accused of violating international anti-money laundering laws. According to the NGO Global Witness, the Paris branch of Barclays held the account of Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang's son, Teodorin Obiang, even after evidence that Obiang had siphoned oil revenues from government funds emerged in 2004. According to Global Witness, Obiang purchased a Ferrari and maintains a mansion in Malibu with the funds from this account.[122]

A 2010 report by The Wall Street Journal described how Credit Suisse, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, and other banks were involved in helping the Alavi Foundation, Bank Melli, the Iranian government, and/or others circumvent US laws banning financial transactions with certain states. They did this by "stripping" information out of wire transfers, thereby concealing the source of funds. Barclays settled with the government for US$298 million.[123]

Tax avoidance

Further information: Tax avoidance

In March 2009, Barclays obtained an injunction against The Guardian requiring it to remove from its website confidential leaked documents describing how SCM, Barclays' structured capital markets division, planned to use more than £11 billion of loans to create hundreds of millions of pounds of tax benefits, via "an elaborate circuit of Cayman Islands companies, US partnerships and Luxembourg subsidiaries".[124] In an editorial on the issue, The Guardian pointed out that, due to the mismatch of resources, tax-collectors (HMRC) now have to rely on websites such as WikiLeaks to obtain such documents.[125][126] Separately, another Barclays whistleblower revealed several days later that the SCM transactions had produced between £900 million and £1 billion in tax avoidance in one year, adding that "The deals start with tax and then commercial purpose is added to them."[127]

In February 2012, Barclays was ordered by the Treasury to pay £500 million in tax which it had tried to avoid. Barclays was accused by HMRC of designing two schemes that were intended to avoid substantial amounts of tax. Tax rules had required the bank to tell the UK authorities about its plans.[128] David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said that "We do not take today's action lightly, but the potential tax loss from this scheme and the history of previous abuse in this area mean that this is a circumstance where the decision to change the law with full retrospective effect is justified."[128]

Rate-fixing scandal

Main article: Libor scandal

In June 2012, as a result of an international investigation, Barclays Bank was fined a total of £290 million (US$450 million) for manipulating the daily settings of London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor). The United States Department of Justice and Barclays officially agreed that "the manipulation of the submissions affected the fixed rates on some occasions".[129] The bank was found to have made 'inappropriate submissions' of rates which formed part of the Libor and Euribor setting processes, sometimes to make a profit, and other times to make the bank look more secure during the financial crisis.[130] This happened between 2005 and 2009, as often as daily.[131]

The BBC said revelations concerning the fraud were "greeted with almost universal astonishment in the banking industry."[132] The UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA), which levied a fine of £59.5 million ($92.7 million), gave Barclays the biggest fine it had ever imposed in its history.[131] The FSA's director of enforcement described Barclays' behaviour as "completely unacceptable", adding "Libor is an incredibly important benchmark reference rate, and it is relied on for many, many hundreds of thousands of contracts all over the world."[130] The bank's chief executive Bob Diamond decided to give up his bonus as a result of the fine.[133] Liberal Democrat politician Lord Oakeshott criticised Diamond, saying: "If he had any shame he would go. If the Barclays board has any backbone, they'll sack him."[130] The US Department of Justice has also been involved, with "other financial institutions and individuals" under investigation.[130]

On 2 July 2012, Marcus Agius resigned from the chairman position following the interest rate rigging scandal.[134] On 3 July 2012, Bob Diamond resigned with immediate effect, leaving Marcus Agius to fill his post until a replacement is found.[135] Within the space of a few hours, this was followed by the resignation of the Bank's chief operating officer, Jerry del Missier.[136] Barclays subsequently announced that Antony Jenkins, its existing chief executive of Global Retail & Business Banking would become group chief executive on 30 August 2012.[137] On 17 February 2014 the Serious Fraud Office charged three former bank employees with manipulating Libor rates between June 2005 and August 2007.[138] Four employees were jailed in July 2016 for up to six-and-a-half years, with two others cleared after a retrial.[139]

Purchase of ING Direct UK Business

In October 2012 Barclays announced it had agreed to buy the ING Direct UK business of the ING Group.[140] The transfer of the business to Barclays was approved at the High Court on 20 February 2013 and ING Direct was renamed Barclays Direct and would be integrated into the existing Barclays business within two years.[141]

US electricity market manipulation

In July 2013, US energy regulator the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ordered Barclays to pay £299 million fine penalty for attempting to manipulate the electricity market in the US. The fine by FERC relates to allegations in December 2008.[142]

Gold price manipulation

In May 2014, the Financial Conduct Authority fined the bank £26 million over systems and controls failures, and conflict of interest in relation to the bank and its customers in connection to the gold fixing during the period 2004–2013, and for manipulation of the gold price on 28 June 2012.[143]

US lawsuit alleging dark pool fraud

In June 2014, the US state of New York filed a lawsuit against the bank alleging it defrauded and deceived investors with inaccurate marketing material about its unregulated trading system known as a dark pool. Specifically, the firm was accused of hiding the fact that Tradebot participated in the dark pool when they were in fact one of the largest players. The state, in its complaint, said it was being assisted by former Barclays executives and it was seeking unspecified damages. The bank's shares dropped 5% on news of the lawsuit, prompting an announcement to the London Stock Exchange by the bank saying it was taking the allegations seriously, and was co-operating with the New York attorney general.[144]

A month later the bank filed a motion for the suit to be dismissed, saying there had been no fraud, no victims and no harm to anyone. The New York Attorney General's office issued a statement saying the attorney general was confident the motion would fail.[145] On 31 January 2016, Barclays settled with both the New York Attorney General's office and the SEC, agreeing to pay $70 million split evenly between the SEC and New York state, admitting it violated securities laws and agreeing to install an independent monitor for the dark pool.[146]

Brexit banking crisis

To ward off the effects of Brexit Barclays borrowed £6 billion from the Bank of England between April and June 2017, as part of a post-referendum stimulus package launched in August 2016.[147] In August 2021 Barclays announced a $400 million capital infusion into its business in India, which was the single largest capital infusion into its Indian business in three decades.[148]

Climate change

In 2017, Barclays faced protests by environmentalists because of its ownership of Third Energy Onshore which planned to extract natural gas using hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at Kirby Misperton in Yorkshire. Barclays later sold Third Energy in 2020 to Alpha Energy.[149][150]

Between 2016 and 2021, Barclays along with HSBC, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds Bank funnelled $368 billion into the fossil fuel industry.[151] The Big 5 UK high street banks provided $15.7 billion in finance to the Top 50 oil and gas expanders in 2021.[152]

In 2020, the campaign group ShareAction filed a resolution at Barclays AGM[153] because of its role as Europe's largest funder of fossil fuel companies. Barclays invested $85 billion in fossil fuel extraction and $24 billion in expansion.[154]

Exchange-rate rigging (last-look system)

Barclays agreed to pay $150 million to resolve an investigation by New York's banking regulator into a trading practice that allowed the bank to exploit a milliseconds-long lag between an order and its execution that sometimes hurt its clients, the latest fallout from the bank's foreign-exchange business.[155]

In certain instances, Barclays used this last-look system to automatically reject client orders that would be unprofitable for the bank because of subsequent price swings during milliseconds-long latency ("hold") periods. Furthermore, when clients questioned Barclays about these rejected trades, Barclays failed to disclose the reason that the trades were being rejected, instead citing technical issues or providing vague responses.[156]

Unsuitable mutual fund transactions

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Barclays' inadequate supervisory procedures failed to stop many customers from swapping one mutual fund for another when the benefits of switching might be undermined by the transaction costs, resulting in $8.63 million of losses for their customers between January 2010 and June 2015. Additionally, from March to August 2014, Barclays processed 1,723 fund transactions that were inconsistent with its customers' goals, risk tolerance or other investments which caused an additional $818,000 of customer harm. As a result, Barclays was required to pay $10 million in restitution, including interest, to affected customers and was fined $3.75 million, but did not admit or deny wrongdoing.[157]

Staff monitoring

In February 2020, it was reported that, in a pilot programme at its London headquarters, the company used tracking software to assess how long employees spent at their desks and warn them if they took excessive breaks. Staff who spent too much time away could find this mentioned on their daily report cards. Following criticisms by staff, the bank said it had taken steps to ensure that individual data would no longer be visible to managers, although the company still holds this data."[158]

The bank faced similar privacy concerns in 2017 when it used OccupEye sensors to track staff through black boxes in their desks.[159]

Recent history

In September 2020 Barclays invested in Barrenjoey Capital Partners, an Australian investment bank startup. In May 2022 Barclays increased its stake in the firm from 9.9 percent to 18.2 percent.[160]

On 31 October 2021, in a surprise move, group CEO Jes Staley agreed to step down amid investigation of his ties to the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. He was replaced as group CEO by the Indian-born American banker C. S. Venkatakrishnan, who became the first person of Indian origin to lead Barclays.[161][162]

On 1 March 2023 Barclays acquired specialist mortgage lender, Kensington Mortgages. Kensington Mortgages, based in Maidenhead, has approximately 600 employees and originated £1.9bn of mortgages during the year ended 31 March 2022.[163]

In July 2023, Arron Banks said that in 2018, Barclays closed his bank accounts, including business accounts, due to his political views, including his support for Brexit.[164][165]

In February 2024, the bank announced the acquisition of the Tesco Bank's credit cards, loans and savings operations, with Tesco retaining its insurance, ATMs, travel money and gift card operations.[166]

In July 2024, Barclays announced selling its German consumer finance business to Austrian bank BAWAG Group AG, following the sale of its performing Italian mortgage portfolio in April, as part of the British lender's aims to simplify its business and exit European retail banking outside of the UK.[167][168]


Barclays operates as two divisions, Barclays UK (BUK) and Barclays International (BI), supported by a service company, Barclays Execution Services (BX).[4]

Principal divisions and subsidiaries

Barclays' principal divisions and subsidiaries include:

Branches and ATMs

A Barclays branch on Park Lane in London, United Kingdom
Former Barclays office in Vilnius, Lithuania

Barclays has over 4,750 branches in about 55 countries and of which about 1,600 are in the United Kingdom.[173] In the UK, Barclays also offers some personal banking services through branches of the Post Office. Most Barclays branches have 24/7 ATMs. Barclays customers and the customers of many other banks can use Barclays ATMs for free in the UK, although in some other countries fees are charged. Barclays is a member of the Global ATM Alliance, an alliance of international banks which allows each banks' customers to use their ATM or debit card at all other member banks with no ATM access fees when travelling internationally.[174]

Senior management

Former Madrid headquarters at Torres de Colón

List of former group chairmen

The position of group chairman was formed in 1896, along with the formation of Barclay and Company Limited.[175]

List of former group chief executives

The position of group chief executive was formed in 1992; prior to that, the chairman was also the de facto chief executive.[175]


A Barclays Cycle Hire docking station in central London

In 2007, Barclays agreed a 20-year naming rights agreement for $400 million for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York City, home of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team. Two years later, due to the slump in the economy the deal was renegotiated to $200 million.[176][177]

Barclays sponsored the 2008 Dubai Tennis Championships.[178]

Barclays was the sponsor of the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme in London from its inception in 2010 to 2015, as part of a £25 million deal with Transport for London.[179][180]

Barclays was a longtime title sponsor of the Premier League, in a sponsorship that started with the 2003–04 season.[181]


Coat of arms of Barclays
22 October 1937
Argent, an eagle displayed sable charged on the body and on each wing with a ducal coronet of the field.[182]

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Further reading