LSBF Interviews James Penny, Head of Europe (London), Wealth and Investment Management at Barclays

London, 16 October 2015 – Rapid growth in technology and changing expectations from clients are the main issues facing the wealth management sector, says James Penny, Head of Europe (London), Wealth and Investment Management at Barclays. Speaking in front of an audience of students at London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), Mr Penny suggested that the global wealth management industry is going through a time of significant change. 

“The banking industry is at the point of inflection, particularly in wealth management. Clients expect everything to be fast. For example, a wealthy client will want to look at their international finances in one place, rather than seeing it segregated by location", he said. “Clients are at the centre of our operation, we must, and do, always consider client outcomes. It’s a very competitive industry, and service and excellence for our clients are amongst the core values of Barclays.” 

James Penny has worked in wealth management since 1987, and won Citywealth’s Private Banker of the Year in 2012. He joined Barclays in 1993, and as Head of Europe (London) for Wealth and Investment his role includes advising clients in the UK and internationally. 

Barclays’ history speaks for itself. As one of the UK’s biggest banks, it looks after more than 48 million clients, and recently celebrated its 325th year in business. Whilst its home market is in the UK, it considers itself a universal bank, and has large European, Asian, Middle Eastern and African operations. 

Speaking on the impact of technology in the banking sector, Mr Penny said: “We are a relationship-based business, supported by cutting edge technology, such as our pioneering voice biometric system in our call centres which allows customers to be identified through their voice alone. 

Wealth management has traditionally been seen as a male dominated industry, but Barclays is trying to change that. It has launched various initiatives in order to reduce the gender gap in the sector. Mr Penny discussed this, saying: “Things have changed for the better recently, but we still have further to go. 

“We run an initiative for senior females who have had a career break whereby they can come and work with us for twelve weeks on a project matched to their experience, capabilities and aspirations and then afterwards decide if they want to apply for a permanent position. There is no silver bullet, no easy fix to this dilemma, but we are constantly trying to do more in regards to gender imbalance”, he concluded. 

LSBF Great Minds Series

As well as offering programmes dedicated to fostering leadership skills, LSBF also endeavours to provide students with insight and inspiration through a number of innovative resources. One of these initiatives is the LSBF Great Minds Series: a collection of video interviews with leading business and political leaders promoting debate on education, employability, entrepreneurship and the economy.

The video series started in 2011 with a conversation with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, followed by an interview with former Education Secretary Lord Kenneth Baker. In 2012, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group said that universities worldwide should become hubs to boost entrepreneurship and inspire self-starters to develop their own businesses. In 2014, LSBF spoke to Will Butler-Adams from Brompton Bicycle, Guy Hayward-Cole from Nomura Bank International, with former British Prime Minister Sir John Major, entrepreneur and investor Deborah Meaden, Google UK sales director Kevin Mathers and BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie.

In 2015, LSBF hosted interviews with Andrew Miller, CEO of Guardian Media Group; Jill McDonald, CEO of McDonald's UK; Kevin Costello, CEO of Haymarket Group; Amy McPherson, CEO of Marriott Hotels Europe; veteran BAFTA-winning broadcaster Jon Snow; live chats with Kevin Ellis, Managing Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers; Guy Hands, Founder of Terra Firma and many others.

To find out more, visit the Great Minds Series page.

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