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Meet our #IndustryExperts

February 2019

Barclays has specialists in over 60 industry sectors. In this profile, we meet Joe Castignetti.

Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you worked for Barclays?
Since 1984, straight from A Levels – coming up to 35 years in July. My parents both emigrated from Italy in the 1960s and as such and being the eldest of 3 brothers, it was important to get a job rather than go on to University.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve had a client meeting?
In a Domino’s Pizza kitchen, whilst the outlet was open and the owner was helping to prepare the pizzas.

Tell us about a time you’ve helped your client with something beyond banking?
An ex customer and I were both football coaches at the same time looking after youth teams. He was a mentor for me and often helped out with my group and I would go to his sessions to learn.

One Sunday he called me and asked if I could take his group of players for their usual session as he wasn’t feeling well and had to go home. I had about 10 minutes to get ready, work out a session and get to the location. It later turned out that he went to the hospital where they diagnosed a minor heart attack and that if I hadn’t said yes to his request, he would have continued so as to not let the boys down.

What is the most exciting thing happening in your clients’ industry?
I really believe we are at a pivotal point in retailing where we are seeing the seismic shift from bricks and mortar to online, and where AI will form an integral part of our shopping experience. The emphasis has shifted from what the retailer believes the right product, to putting the consumer at the forefront of any decision thereby giving us more choice, better convenience and hopefully a more fulfilling experience.

If you didn’t work for Barclays, what would you be doing?
It would have been either as a chef (my dad worked long hours in the kitchen in central London Italian restaurants) or doing something manual such as plumber, electrician etc. I always admire that trade albeit I’m sure they would swap with me during some of their difficult jobs.

Meet Alexandra Fogal, Relationship Director.

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Alexandra Fogal and I am a Director in Corporate Banking for Barclays. For the past 9 years I have been a Relationship Director focusing on the manufacturing sector across Yorkshire.

I joined Barclays when I was at university in York working on the counter serving our retail customers as a cashier and then formally applied for the Gradate scheme in 2005. I have done various roles within the bank and the graduate scheme gave you the platform to do so.

I also run Barclays Women in Business Awards and sit on our Diversity and Inclusion council for the Corporate Bank and help lead the gender pillar. I was fortunate to win a Global Award in 2017 as Business Impact Champion for Corporate Banking and this year runner up in the Women in Banking and Finance Awards in London.

Where is the strangest place you’ve had a client meeting?
Probably the Blackburn Wing which is a 2000 sq ft treehouse shaped like an airplane wing and nestled in ancient woodland at the heart of the Bowcliffe Estate. The copper and glass masterpiece pays tribute to aviation hero Robert Blackburn, a Yorkshireman who introduced the first scheduled air service in Great Britain and designed and built one of the first powered aeroplanes.

I’ve also found myself on the top of a mountain in the Lakes faxing documents to clients too!

Tell us about a time you’ve helped your client with something beyond banking.
I would say the Women in Business Awards I created 4 years ago in Yorkshire which have also run 2 years in the North West.

This platform has enabled me to build a network for clients to meet like-minded individuals, share best practice, stories and mentor one another. Through the additional events I have run this provides an engaging environment for leaders to come together to share their stories and has led onto individuals forming new relationship with businesses in Yorkshire, doing and referring business to each other and forming friendships.

The ROI has been in excess of £1m on this each year and I am pleased to say over £50k raised for local charities in Yorkshire.

We also ran Bradford Manufacturing Week (BMW18), a week-long event in October, to ultimately assist Bradford with engaging school children into manufacturing as a sector, together with helping manufacturers with apprenticeships. 37 manufacturing companies were involved, and 18 schools participated with 2637 children taking part. Of these 390 directly took part in Lifeskills sessions which was delivered by 11 Barclays staff across MC and LC.

What is the most exciting thing happening in your clients’ industry?
I would say that the innovation occurring within the manufacturing sector is very exciting. Clients are focused on becoming smarter, leaner, stronger and faster.

There is lots of overseas investment coming into the UK in spite of uncertain times. A recent and exciting deal example in our region was PepsiCo acquiring Pipers Crisps.

I would say as a Yorkshire region we are highly innovative. We are seeing much investment into the sector, for example, with the Advanced Manufacturing Park attracting McLaren and Boeing.

If you didn’t work for Barclays, what would you be doing?
Professional Dancer or running my own Events Company. Both are passions of mine and that I still do now.

As a young child my first stage appearance was at 4 years old and I’ve been dancing ever since together with gaining my teachers in dance. Ballroom and Latin were always my favourite styles. Claim to fame: dancing in the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth games in Manchester.

On the event side I’ve run various professional networking events whilst working for the bank and take a lead on a number of sector and diversity & inclusion events we run as a business. Bringing people together for common gain is something I find both interesting and engaging and that I could do in a personal business capacity someday.

Meet Rachel Budge, Relationship Director.

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 Nikki Barrington, Relationship Director.

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…!