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Meet our #IndustryExperts

November 2018

Barclays has specialists in over 60 industry sectors. In this profile, we meet Rachel Budge.

Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you worked for Barclays?
I have worked for Barclays for 4 years now and prior to that I was a relationship manager for 12 years in the banking sector. I am originally from the Midlands and started working in the industry when my son was 18 months old and I was a single parent trying to get back to work.

My job satisfaction has always come from learning from the client what their growth strategy is and then working with them to help them achieve this – the look of delight on their faces when they have secured their new premises or made a successful acquisition is simply priceless and I feel honoured to have been part of that journey with them.

I relocated from the Midlands 12 years ago and have worked in and around Hertfordshire and North London since then. My current industry specialism is Business Services and predominantly recruitment.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve had a client meeting?
A previous client of mine was a large funeral director and we met at the premises where the bodies were embalmed and laid out for the families to pay their final respects. These were always in private rooms, of course, and away from where we met but it was quite eerie knowing they were so close by. I did politely decline the offer of a tour of the premises and the crematorium that they also owned!

Tell us about a time you’ve helped your client with something beyond banking?
There have been a lot of changes, driven by HMRC, around the rules for IR35 for the public sector over the past couple of years which has greatly impacted the recruitment industry. This was creating a lot of additional work for the recruitment firms and the rules were often not clear or, more importantly, open to interpretation.

I have a payroll company in my portfolio who were working with HMRC on the consultation process for these changes, so I asked them if they would be happy to be involved in a couple of events whereby we could secure a speaker from HMRC who was involved in writing the new rules. We had around 65 companies attend each event and several guest speakers from HMRC who were excellent. The recruitment firms who attended found it incredibly useful to talk to and raise concerns directly with HMRC.

What is the most exciting thing happening in your clients’ industry?
The recruitment industry has been plagued with many regulation changes over the past few years (IR35, the apprenticeship levy and GDPR, to name a few). Before, the industry was essentially unregulated so this has been a real change for them.

Whilst this has created challenges for the industry it has also helped greatly in professionalising it and creating stronger barriers to entry. If a recruitment firm is fully up to speed on being compliant with these regulations it actually becomes a USP for them, and stops smaller and less established companies being able to enter and undercut them on price.

As technology advances, many recruitment firms are investing in platforms that not only streamline their processes but also hold all the data in one place, increasing efficiency. There is also a lot of noise in the industry around artificial intelligence. The reality, however, is that whilst artificial intelligence may help in matching CV’s to job descriptions, after this point it is still very much a relationship business that heavily relies on people so I don’t think that AI will be replacing people any time soon.

If you didn’t work for Barclays, what would you be doing?
I would love to be a private chef cooking fine dining for dinner parties in people’s homes or yachts. I have always loved cooking since I could hold a saucepan and a wooden spoon. My favourite programme at the moment is Masterchef the professionals! There is nothing I enjoy more than planning a menu for a dinner party and spending the day in the kitchen preparing it - of course eating it is good too but then an extra gym session is often required!

Meet Martin Crook, Relationship Director

Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you worked for Barclays?
I have just celebrated my 10 year anniversary with Barclays and begun my 27th year in banking! Working as a Relationship Director, I am responsible for 30 corporates that operate primarily in the Retail and Wholesale sector, based out of our Bath and Bristol offices.

I joined the Army when I left school and I never dreamt I would have a career in Banking! However, it was one of the best decisions I have made.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve had a client meeting?
For me it is not the strange, but the variety of locations I’ve been to for client meetings. They have all been in the South West, yet have ranged from pasty shops and garden centres to cheese factories! I feel that people would be surprised by the role of the banker, the variety of clients that we support and the breadth of their product offering.

Tell us about a time you’ve helped your client with something beyond banking?
I pride myself on taking the wider view and perhaps displacing the traditional perceptions of bankers through a more natural and innovative approach to banking. For example, each year we bring a table of 15 business owners together to share views, experiences and hear from our head of industry in London. On many occasions, due to the high level of debate and engagement, we have needed to bring the evening to a close to prevent finishing in the early hours!

What is most pleasing is how the clients continue to support each other after the event, and often visit their respective locations to share best practices; ERP systems being particularly relevant at the moment. I liken it to being a dating agency for businesses! It brings a tangible benefit to our clients, which I know they value.

What is the most exciting thing happening in your clients’ industry?
I often say that a banker specialising in Retail and Wholesale will never have a quiet day, due to the pace of innovation and changes in consumer demands. The industry just doesn’t stand still.

Retailers are facing a huge amount of change with the availability of omni-channel shopping and innovative technology. An online retailer must remain up-to-date, whilst pure retailers must focus on the growth of in-store experiences. It is key to keep footfall still coming into the stores themselves, too.

We have also seen a significant investment in brand awareness and in warehousing ERP systems. I would say that 25% of retailers or more have invested in new systems to make sure that they can hold strict KPIs, in terms of their wholesaling operation.

Rebalancing after the Brexit result was a real challenge. The businesses have now settled back down, and they are now more efficient and better placed for future growth, which is great to see in an ever-challenging industry.

If you didn’t work for Barclays, what would you be doing?
I have always fancied being skilled in dry stone walling and repairing footpaths in the countryside. Or a professional shoe polisher.

Meet Steven Foyster, Relationship Director.

Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you worked for Barclays?
I studied a business economics degree before heading off to Nairobi, Kenya and spending a year travelling around Africa, Australia and Asia when the travelling route wasn't so well travelled.

When I returned to the UK I started work with Barclays and I've spent last 16 Years doing a variety of roles. I started in the machine room processing thousands of cheques every day, these days I am a corporate Relationship Director for the Healthcare sector. I'm now married with 2 kids and live a busy life!

Where’s the strangest place you’ve had a client meeting?
I've had a meeting with a client in the winter months on a farm with no electricity due to the extremely wet and windy weather and we got by under candle light.

One meeting regret I've had now for several years was when I was offered a plane ride mid meeting by a customer who owned a small plane and had a runway in the garden. He claimed he could get us up and into the sky within 12 minutes but I wasn't brave enough to take him up on it!

Tell us about a time you’ve helped your client with something beyond banking?
I am always looking at ways I can add value to the local business community especially in the healthcare sector. I run a couple of Care Sector lunches where the sole focus is the sharing of best practices and ideas. This is also a great resource for me to understand exactly what ideas the local care businesses are rolling out and to hear from the regulators, the CQC Care Quality Commission.

I am currently looking at how we can use our Barclays Digital Wings (opens in a new window) accreditation within a care home setting. Digital Wings is a course made up of a number of modules to explain how the internet works, from digital platforms to social media.

Care homes are becoming more digital and are replacing traditional hand written care plans with online care plans via a tablet and there is a definite need for up-skilling. With one of my clients, we are looking to get his staff and a couple of the more able residents to work through the course.

I also take part in LifeSkills each year in my local school with a team from Barclays. We offer our experience and guidance with interview skills to help prepare the children for their first job interview. This is always a fun and rewarding experience.

What is the most exciting thing happening in your clients’ industry?
I am a specialist in the Healthcare sector and spend the majority of my time with care homes within my region. The recent industry changes are not that exciting as they have seen heavier regulation and scrutiny placed on care homes, however, the exciting part is that over the last 18 months I've noticed a tangible difference and push to raise the bar from care providers.

The care homes are being enhanced and the new ideas and concepts are coming through quicker than ever as good quality care operators are looking to deliver person centric care and use new technology and ideas to drive the market place on.

The end result is better quality care being provided in better quality environments, and it is a delight to see the service users benefitting from this.

If you didn’t work for Barclays, what would you be doing?
I'd probably be working on the South West coast in Devon or Cornwall in a job which would enable me to take in the environment and the coastline. Setting up an organisation which would give people with learning difficulties more access to the beaches and the coastline would be a great opportunity I know I'd love.

Meet Alan Bark, Relationship Director in our Public Sector team.

Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you worked for Barclays?
I’ve been at Barclays for over 35 years now, and working as a Relationship Director with larger corporate clients in the Education and Charity sectors for the past ten years. I’m based out of the Oxford corporate office and cover a wide geographical patch across the south of England.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve had a client meeting?
I once unexpectedly met one of my clients on the terraces of a League 1 football away game; there were a couple of business things to discuss… and Oxford United did win so overall, a very good day.

Tell us about a time you’ve helped your client with something beyond banking?
I help and support one of my further education college clients with their annual “Take the Plunge” event which is similar to the Dragons Den TV show in which students showcase their ideas and compete for imaginary funding. I provide support as an “expert” on building a financial plan for the final presentation for assessment.

It is great to see how these 200 students taking part grow in confidence during the day as their ideas start to build and develop into a great business proposition. I have supported my client on this for the last 5 years – one event I always enjoy taking part in.

What is the most exciting thing happening in your clients’ industry?
In the charities sector, I think the contactless donations proposition being developed by Barclaycard is very exciting in making it easier to make quick and convenient charity donations on the go with the tap of a card. The charities sector is keen to embrace any new ideas to reinvigorate their fundraising and donation activities. Contactless donations are an innovative idea to support the sector.

If you didn’t work for Barclays, what would you be doing?
An architect (banking was my second choice!) or a professional photographer.

Meet manufacturing, transport and logistics RD, Nikki Barrington.

Image of Relationship Director Nikki Barrington, and client HPC

February 2018

Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you worked for Barclays?
Having studied at Exeter University, I worked in the South West as an accountant before moving up to London to join Barclays. I have been with Barclays Corporate Banking for five years now, working as a Relationship Director within the Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics team in Canary Wharf.

We at Barclays are proud of our well established industry proposition meaning we work closely with our clients to understand their businesses, and add value through producing sector specific newsletters and thought leadership papers, running industry aligned events and facilitating networking opportunities.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve had a client meeting?
One of my clients is a racing car fanatic, and suggested we had a quick coffee meeting at Mercedes Benz World. After our coffee he persuaded me to get in a car with him on the track and we continued our meeting racing around at 100mph – a different take on a ‘quick’ coffee chat!

Tell us about a time you’ve helped your clients with something beyond banking?
A challenge faced by a number of my clients in the manufacturing sector is access to labour, with one client recently quoting ‘where have all the good men gone’ from Bonnie Tyler’s I need a Hero. Barclays has assisted with the transition of over 5,000 heroes in the form of military leavers, employing over 400 within Barclays and adding huge value across the business and saving over £3m in recruiting fees.

Through VETS (Veterans Employment Transition Support) we have extended this programme to clients, which provides a proven model for employing veterans with access to a large talent pool, and the ability to advertise vacancies without charge. While widely recognised as the right thing to do, there is clearly also an economic value these highly skilled individuals can bring to the corporate world, providing a compelling solution to the labour problem.

What is the most exciting thing happening in your clients’ industry?
While undeniably UK manufacturing exports have been boosted by Brexit and the associated depreciation of Sterling, I am not sure many would describe Brexit as exciting.

In September we held our first Barclays National Manufacturing Conference at JCB’s global headquarters. We discussed a fast moving sector and fast thinking leaders, with 4IR (the fourth industrial revolution) very much the buzzword of the moment.

4IR is underpinned by key principles of intelligence, connectivity and autonomy which are increasingly driving efficiency and effectiveness of business operations. In many cases new strategic thinking and investment is needed to foster future growth, with Barclays working to support our clients in the manufacturing sector through a partnership approach to help proactively manage this change and keep ahead of the curve.

If you didn’t work for Barclays, what would you be doing?
Alongside work my two passions are travelling and sports, so an international sports star would fit the bill nicely.

On the travel side I enjoy exploring new places, cultures (and climates!) having visited New Zealand, the Middle East and Cuba in recent years, with plans to visit Argentina and Japan in 2019 for the Rugby World Cup!

As well as being a big rugby fan, I am a keen runner, swimmer and cyclist. I’ve completed the London marathon, a 100-mile cycle ride and a number of triathlons (I definitely have the bug!). While I’ve tried, sadly I was not able to keep up with the Brownlee brothers, so may just have to stick to banking for now…!