From football pitch to private bank?

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The insular world of private banking is increasingly being forced to open its doors to talent from elsewhere - football included.

Barclays Wealth Management is currently running a recruitment campaign targeting people who have simply "proved yourself in your chosen profession".

The initiative, called 'Embark', is looking to attract, as you might expect, investment banking professionals but also, says a spokesman, lawyers, solicitors, tax experts, accountants, experts in IT and technology and even people from biosciences, medical, media, celebrity, or sports backgrounds.

"We are looking for people who have been successful, who have the intelligence and the smarts but perhaps not, up to now, the technical skills," he says.

Last year Barclays Wealth Management hired 370 people and, assuming the hire rate remains constant, it estimates around 20-30% of the new hires are likely to come from outside the financial services world.

With private bankers in short supply globally, Barclays' move makes sense, say headhunters.

"Lots of banks are doing it," says Catherine Tillotson, head of the research team at wealth management consultancy Scorpio Partnership. "There are just not enough relationship managers out there."

That doesn't mean anyone can make the transition, she cautions. "Investment bankers are often too deal-oriented and do not do enough hand-holding," Tillotson points out.

"People will need to have financial qualifications. They will need to have a sales or financial planning background," she adds. "I have heard of lawyers and bankers coming across but never, for instance, a doctor."

Footballers may prove an equally unknown quantity.

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