Big ideas at Barclays Wealth

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It's more than 18 months since Barclays Wealth began soliciting applications from anyone able to spell 'private banker'. It's now set to up the ante.

Wealth Bulletin quotes an unnamed source as saying that Barclays Wealth is priming itself to hire 800 people worldwide, 250 of them in the UK.

This appears to be in addition to the 500 back-office jobs Barclays Wealth plans to add in its Glasgow office by the end of 2009.

The private bank is no stranger to ambitious hiring plans. Its rampant recruitment intentions became apparent back in mid-2006, when new chief exec Thomas Kalaris told the Times they were interviewing between 15 and 20 people a week.

Atypical applicants given a hard grilling

Since then, Barclays Wealth has added at least 500 staff, some retrained from other sectors as part of its 'Embark' programme.

One recruiter who's working with them says ex-army types and corporate bankers are a favourite for Embark, as are people with relationship management experience from other sectors - recruitment consultants are a distinct possibility.

However, securing an interview with Barclays Wealth far from guarantees a job.

Mark Kibblewhite, head of UK private banking, told Wealthbriefing the bank has hired fewer than 60 people under its Embark programme so far. And the recruiter we spoke to said it runs demanding assessment centres after which only between one and three out of every 40 interviewees are taken on.

Pay is also said to be fairly paltry, at between 30k and 40k, plus bonus.

Big money for experienced private bankers

If you already have private banking experience, the pay's liable to be a lot more generous. One private banking headhunter says Barclays has been known to pay three-year guarantees to secure already established private banking talent.

The new 800 staff may come from the established ranks. Wealth Bulletin says Barclays will be going after experienced private bankers dissatisfied with their bonuses.

If the money's right, private banking headhunter Christian Sulger Buel says they should have no problem attracting people: "Private bankers aren't stupid - if they see the money and the structure's in place, they will go."

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