Barclays proves commitment to FX as strategy change pays off

Barclays wins Best Bank for EUR/GBP at the 2016 FX Week Best Banks Awards

Rudi Alexis: "We want clients with challenges to think about us as the first bank to call for solutions"

After a change of strategy was announced at Barclays in 2014, the following year was one of transition. But, in 2016, the bank has seen a net change, not only in its performance, but also in the way clients interact with it, says Rudi Alexis, head of FX distribution for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"In the past few years, because of what happened in the FX market, with capital requirements and a new regulatory environment, our focus has changed from wanting to be number one in market share to [wanting to] become the most respected and trusted bank in the FX market," he says.

Barclays scooped the Best Bank for EUR/GBP award for the fifth consecutive year at the 2016 FX Week Best Banks Awards, in a sign that customers appreciate its objective to be their first port of call.

"We want clients with challenges to think about us as the first bank to call for solutions," Alexis says. "We also want to be front of mind because the service we provide is transparent. This is one of the big themes we have worked on, and I think we are ahead of the curve versus some of the competition."

The UK's referendum on its membership of the European Union in June was a big test, especially in EUR/GBP.

Barclays has always had a very strong commitment to the FX business and we saw that reinforced again last year
James Hassett, Barclays

James Hassett, head of FX trading for Europe at Barclays, notes the bank's strong presence in London, alongside its global research offering, has put it in a very strong position to prove its commitment to FX.

"It has been a volatile year for clients. EU referendum night is a good example, and we are expecting more volatility on the horizon due to political risk across Europe over the next year," he says.

"Barclays has always had a very strong commitment to the FX business and we saw that reinforced again last year, with senior management changes that continue to be extremely supportive of what we are trying to achieve. That's indicative [of] how we view our presence in the market as a EUR/GBP provider," he adds.

Hassett is confident that Barclays is up to the task of facing changing liquidity dynamics, even as uncertainty is building in the market as a result of political developments.

"Liquidity continues to evolve; there are new risks in the markets that didn't exist before. We are in a situation now where it seems likely [that] we will get more political news-moving events. While the market is going to decide how it needs to price them, we remain very active risk takers, looking to provide a lot of liquidity to our clients," he says.

Click for editor's introduction, list of interviews and awards tables

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