home Latest News Tom Kalaris: aimed to make wealth management unit a global player – Financial Times

Tom Kalaris: aimed to make wealth management unit a global player – Financial Times

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Barclays, its former chief executive and three other ex-senior executives were on Tuesday charged by UK authorities with fraud related to emergency cash injections that saved the bank at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Serious Fraud Office has charged Barclays with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, and unlawful financial assistance over its arrangements with Qatari investors who ploughed a total of £6.1bn into Barclays in June and October 2008.

Here we profile the four former executives who have been charged with fraud.

John Varley, former chief executive: legacy under threat

John Varley, an archetypal City figure who started his career as a solicitor after graduating from Oxford university © Getty

John Varley was fiercely proud of having steered Barclays through the financial crisis while protecting its independence and without recourse to a government bailout, unlike so many of its rivals, writes Martin Arnold.

The fraud charges filed on Tuesday against Mr Varley and the bank he used to run cut to the heart of his legacy as chief executive of the British lender.

An archetypal English gent right down to his colourful braces, Mr Varley started his career as a solicitor after graduating from Oxford university. But two years later he joined Barclays, helping to set up its investment banking operation in 1982, which went on to become BZW.

He even married into the bank; his wife Carolyn is the daughter of Sir Richard Thorn Pease, a member of an old Quaker banking family, which became part of Barclays in 1902.

After a posting to Hong Kong, and a brief move to a rival asset manager before returning to Barclays, he rose quickly through the ranks to join the executive committee in 1996 and finance director in 2000.

His early years as chief executive from 2004 to 2008 were spent on the acquisition hunt, when he lost out to Royal Bank of Scotland in an attempt to buy the ultimately toxic Dutch lender ABN Amro and then scooped up the US assets of the defunct Lehman Brothers business after regulators blocked a bid for the whole bank.

After the financial crisis, he switched to a more defensive mode of trying to raise enough capital to resist government pressure for Barclays to accept a bailout alongside RBS and the newly merged Lloyds/HBOS.

After selling the bank’s prized asset management arm — Barclays Global Investors — to BlackRock, Mr Varley oversaw two share issues that tapped the bank’s strong contacts in the Middle East to raise capital from the royal families of Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

Having retired to his homes in London and Hampshire, the 61-year-old may have thought he had done enough to keep his legacy at Barclays intact. The criminal charges he and the bank face risk throwing all of that back up in the air.

Roger Jenkins: pivotal role in capital raising

Since leaving Barclays, Roger Jenkins worked at a Brazilian investment bank and set up an advisory firm in Dublin

As the head of investment banking and investment management in the Middle East for Barclays, Roger Jenkins played a pivotal role in organising the two capital raisings backed by the royal families of Qatar and Abu Dhabi that allowed it to avoid being bailed out by the UK government, writes Martin Arnold.

Mr Jenkins developed a speciality for structuring tax-efficient financing for companies. This became so lucrative for Barclays before the crisis that at one point he was dubbed Britain’s highest paid banker, reportedly earning £75m in 2005 alone. But it attracted so much criticism that after the financial crisis the bank pledged to wind the unit down.

Mr Jenkins, who as a student sprinter represented Scotland and Great Britain, does not court the limelight. But the same could not be said of his ex-wife Diana, a designer and socialite who regularly rubbed shoulders with actors and pop stars.

Diana Jenkins claimed her friendship with the wife of Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, Qatar Holding’s chairman, led to the introduction that saw the Qatar Investment Authority make a large equity investment in Barclays.

However, it was the Tunisian wife of an Italian industrialist who actually introduced the couple to Sheikh Hamad and his wife while all were in holiday in Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda in 2007, according to previous Italian press reports.

After studying economics at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Mr Jenkins joined Barclays as a trainee in 1978. He moved to New York as head of private placements in the investment banking division BZW before leaving to join rival Kleinwort Benson in 1987.

He returned to Barclays in 1994 to set up the structured capital markets unit, which advised companies and wealthy individuals on tax-efficient forms of financing.

Since leaving Barclays in 2009, Mr Jenkins has been based at his home in Malibu, California. The 61-year-old has worked at the Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual and set up an advisory firm in Dublin, but both of these roles have quietly fizzled out.

Tom Kalaris: global ambitions for wealth management unit

Tom Kalaris was part of a drive to push the medium-sized unit into the global top league

American investment banker Tom Kalaris, 61, was a confidant of former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond and oversaw the bank’s wealth management division during the financial crisis, writes Emma Dunkley.

A bond trader by training, Mr Kalaris joined the British bank in 1996, after spending 18 years at JPMorgan in a number of roles, including head of fixed income sales, trading and research.

After serving as head of distribution and research at Barclays Capital, the investment banking division, Mr Kalaris was shifted by Mr Diamond — who was at the time chief executive of the investment bank — to head its wealth management arm from late 2005. The move was part of a senior management reshuffle by Mr Diamond in line with his grand vision to expand Barclays’ private banking operations overseas.

In his new role, Mr Kalaris pursued an aggressive push to elevate the medium-sized unit into the global top league and to boost cross-selling with the investment bank.

As part of this expansion, Mr Kalaris launched “Project Gamma” at the end of 2009 with the aim of increasing client assets to as much as £300bn and return on equity to 17 to 18 per cent by the end of 2013.

But a report by consultancy Genesis Ventures was critical of the wealth management unit’s culture of aggressively seeking revenue.

Mr Kalaris left Barclays in summer 2013 — a year after Antony Jenkins became chief executive of the bank.

The former Barclays executive made a comeback last summer with the launch of a wealth management boutique in the UK called Saranac Partners, and has recently hired several Barclays alumni.

Richard Boath: rose to senior Emea role

Richard Boath made a name for himself by devising regulatory capital solutions © Bloomberg

Born the son of a former Miss Manchester and a chemicals company worker, Richard Boath studied management science at the University of Manchester and emerged from the course with “no idea what I wanted to do as a job”, according to a 2001 interview with Euromoney, writes Laura Noonan.  

He told Euromoney he was leaning towards marketing until a campus visit from Bank of America changed his mind. 

He joined BofA in 1980 as an account officer in corporate banking. His early banking career was remarkable for the number of times he moved institutions — in 1982 he left BofA for Security Pacific, then in 1988 he joined Merrill Lynch, and two years after that he was part of a team head hunted by Salomon Brothers, where he would remain until 1999, a year after Salomon’s merger with Citigroup.

At Salomon he made a name for himself by coming up with groundbreaking regulatory capital solutions for banks and other financial institutions, most notably the permanent interest bearing shares for Leeds Permanent Building Society, which were treated as bonds for tax purposes and equities for regulatory purposes.

Barclays, which Mr Boath joined in 2001, was to prove his longest employment. He rose to become co-head of financial institutions for Europe, the Middle East and Africa by 2013 and chairman of the bank’s Emea financial institutions group a year later. A colleague there described him as a “very good guy” and a “team player”. “He wasn’t the sort of person who drove around in a flash car . . . He was very understated, very quiet,” the colleague added.

Mr Boath left Barclays in 2016 and has pursued an employment law claim against the bank, which was adjourned in December. 

He now describes himself as a self-employed consultant.