Lakh Patra - A good time to join Barclays


A lot has changed in the Finance industry since I joined Barclays in 2009. We’ve come a long way from a Foreign Exchange business ranked 9th in the industry. But the interesting thing is, we’re nowhere near the end of the story.

From here on in, technology is and will be the deciding factor in how we succeed as a business. Which means, for technologists – anyone who has technology or digital skills – you have the chance to make an impact in one of the biggest banks in the world.

And one that already has the momentum going in the right direction.

When I joined in 2009 I had already worked for some big banks. And I didn’t want to join somewhere that was just going to talk about innovation. So I asked the FX business for the strategy and they laid it out, and showed me how they were going to invest in two, three, four years down the line. They stuck to their word.

In my first year, I had to hire close to 300 people in technology roles. We did it. And more than that, we invested in our infrastructure. So when the UK election happened in 2010 and volumes trading went through the roof, putting stress on all of the industry’s trading systems, ours coped and allowed trading to continue. And when the tsunami in Japan took the data centres out at a number of banks, we flipped our infrastructure to Singapore and carried on as one of the few banks providing liquidity to the market.

Within two years we were ranked number three in Foreign Exchange trading by volume. This investment not only showed us that we were right in our thinking all along, it’s meant the whole business could see the value in that investment.

So now, if you talk to senior leaders, they don’t say we’re a bank who deals in technology, they say we’re a technology house with a bank attached to it. In order to thrive as an investment bank we have to rely 100 percent on technology. That is what is going to deliver our strategy.

It’s technology that will help us standardise what we do. Simplify, streamline and automate our processes in order to maximise throughput and place us ahead of the pack. The challenge now is to provide our business colleagues with the tools to process and understand the wealth of information that, as a bank, we have access to – and make it work better for us and our customers. It’s why we’re investing in robotics, we're investing in big data and all the innovation that can help us to become the premier investment bank.

And that’s what’s exciting. Because if you think about who we are as a business, where we’ve come from, what we’ve learnt but also, how much further there is to go, you can immediately see the opportunities for bright, talented, driven people to make a difference.