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Our strategy

We are a British universal bank with a diversified and connected portfolio of businesses, serving retail and wholesale customers and clients globally.

Focus on customers and clients

Putting them at the heart of the decisions we make about running our business and shaping it for the future.

Continue digitalising

Enabling our customers and clients to engage with us in the way they want to, and making our business more efficient.

Strengthen our diversification

Diversify our organisation by business, geography and income type to be more resilient to economic headwinds and future trends.

Protect and strengthen our culture

Draw on our Purpose and Values to guide our choices as colleagues and as an organisation.

Each of these components is complementary, with benefits from improvements in one reinforcing progress across the others. For example, we better meet our client needs by focusing on digitalisation, which in turn expands our product sets and strengthens diversification. This improves the resilience of the Group, increases efficiency and reduces cost and operational risk, while providing an improved experience and faster capability for our customers.

picture of business customer

1. Focus on customers and clients

Putting customers and clients at the heart of what we do requires us to listen and to understand their priorities, tailoring our products and services to meet their needs, while using our expertise to support their progress.

The global reach of our universal banking platform across a diverse set of products and services allows us to meet an unparalleled range of our customer and client needs. We have taken steps to join up and strengthen the way we think about our service across all of our businesses to present a single, compelling face to our customers and clients. This interconnection is reinforced by our common core operating platform, BX, which facilitates the sharing of expertise and ideas across the Group. We are now better able to bring our entire organisation to bear in delivering the right solutions for customers and clients seamlessly.

Internally we call this the Power of One Barclays, a philosophy that unites colleagues across all of our businesses in a single objective to meet our customer and client needs end-to-end, realising operational and financial synergies across the Group.

woman with ipad at home

2. Continue digitalising

In the UK, we continue to focus investment on the rapid automation of as many processes as possible while striving to not leave any customer behind.

This enhances customer experience and the reach of our products, and it also reduces costs, creating the capacity to finance further investment in automation and a virtuous circle of multi-year cost efficiencies. As well as significant cost opportunities, new income streams have also become possible, for example, our Plan & Invest platform, a digitally delivered advice and investment offering for current account customers in the UK, launched in September 2020.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognised that digital access was a necessity and worked to accelerate investment in our digital and automation agenda, helping customers bank and transact with us more easily. In our Corporate Bank, we continue our three-year plan to improve our clients’ digital experience, supporting more and more to self-serve in line with their needs. Last year, we successfully migrated Barclays iPortal from legacy physical infrastructure to the cloud, providing a more resilient and cost effective platform.

In our Markets business, we continued to increase the scale of our network and platforms, extending our electronic capabilities, including our BARX and options offerings. Electronic trading continues to increase in importance, continuing to benefit from sustained multi‑year investment.

Finally, in a year that saw a peak of over 70,000 colleagues working remotely, the value of our strategic investment in digital infrastructure was plain to see. Within a matter of days, Barclays enabled a huge number of people to make that transition, deploying c.£51m of IT kit, infrastructure and home office equipment to improve capabilities.

man with wind turbine

3. Strengthen our diversification

We are diversified in a variety of different ways across:

  • Customers and clients: we serve a wide spectrum from individual customers and businesses, to institutional investor clients and governments;
  • Business lines: our Personal Banking, Barclaycard Consumer UK and Business Banking businesses in Barclays UK, and our Corporate and Investment Banking and Consumer, Cards and Payments;
  • Geographies: the UK is our home market, but we also operate a highly successful franchise in the US, and generate significant value in Europe, Asia Pacific, and emerging markets;
  • Currencies: our clients enjoy access to international markets in over 80 currencies;
  • Sources of income: through the combination of interest and fee income business, our profits remain consistent despite economic headwinds. Only 37% of Group income is from net interest income, meaning we are less impacted by the income challenge posed by current low interest rates.

We demonstrated the benefits of our diversification through 2020, delivering consistent profitability during the COVID-19 pandemic, while managing our risk appropriately and taking significant provisions for future potential credit losses. Our Markets business benefited from high asset price volatility and volumes of client transactions, and from a well-executed risk strategy. This generated significant profits, helping to offset headwinds that we saw in our consumer businesses.

Barclays colleague

4. Protect and strengthen our culture

We are committed to a culture that upholds the highest standards of conduct and controls. This benefits all of our stakeholders, helping our customers and clients to succeed, our colleagues to realise their potential, and the communities in which we operate to prosper.

Our business is focused on the areas where we can have the greatest long-term positive impacts, operating responsibly with respect to the environment and society and investing in communities. We have made significant progress across all of these areas in 2020.

At the heart of our culture are Barclays’ Purpose and Values, both of which have been updated to reflect what we have learnt during the extraordinary circumstances of the past year. Together, they ensure that a strong ethical and inclusive culture defines the way we do business at Barclays.

A culture which makes it easy for colleagues to determine and make the right decisions in any given situation. This has never been more important than during the extreme challenges experienced in 2020. Our senior leaders spend significant time setting the right tone, with a sense of purpose ingrained in how they communicate and lead Barclays. Colleague performance continues to be evaluated in terms of ‘what’ has been achieved against agreed objectives and ‘how’ these objectives have been delivered in line with our Values and desired behaviours.

Decisions on individual performance and compensation outcomes are therefore influenced by whether an individual is helping to build and embed the desired culture we want to see. This continues to be a powerful way of embedding our Purpose, Values and desired behaviours throughout Barclays.

We continue to believe that creating an inclusive and supportive culture is not only the right thing to do, but also what is best for our business. It creates a sense of belonging and value and enables colleagues to perform at their best. At Barclays, we focus on five areas of inclusion – disability, gender, LGBT+, multicultural, and multi-generational.