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Barclays reveals it is investing wisely

11 February 2005
Barclays Bank has revealed that its profits increased by 20 per cent in 2004, mainly thanks to its flourishing investment banking business.

Barclays Capital, the company's investment arm, saw its earnings rise by a quarter to £1.04 billion, aided by the continuing global stock market recovery.

However, Barclays' high street profile is looking less convincing.

Profits made from the company's 14 million individual British customers fell from £1.14 billion to £1.13 billion, despite an increase in the number of individual current and savings accounts.

'We have been investing heavily in front-line people, in infrastructure, and in branch-based technology,' John Varley, Barclays chief executive, explained.

'We are looking for these investments to bear fruit during 2005. The best fruit, of course, will be rising customer satisfaction among retail customers driving further growth in business flows.'

Despite this fall in profits, the increase in customer accounts and greater earnings from Barclays Capital serve to strengthen Barclays' position as one of the big four UK high-street banks, along with HSBC, NatWest and Lloyd's TSB.

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