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Globalization and finance: Clement Perrette reflects on continuous evolution of Barclays

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Prior to the rise of the globally transformative power of the internet, local cultures drove trends within the realm of lifestyle, financial cultures and behaviors, belief systems, and even trends.

With relatively separated cultural influences, many fledgling companies, and larger-scale businesses, moved about creating their own operational methods, opportunities for change, and standardized offerings.

Upon the recognition of a successful pattern, larger local companies developed the status quo, influencing smaller hyper-local and independent companies in an organically driven manner that was somewhat driven by local culture, norms, and situations.

With the swift popularization of the world wide web, globalization of previously localized markets began to take place almost immediately.

Propelled by the connectivity of real-time global news sources, email and communication tools, and newly collaborative efforts within various sectors that transcended geographical boundaries, globalization began to affect every professional sector.

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Image: Sean Pollock on Unsplash

Within the Finance sector, this equated to many independent Investment Banks learning from each other, providing newly burgeoning services upon recognition of their successes elsewhere, and developing new norms based on a slowly developing global financial culture.

Through this emerging globalization, consumer education, and increased individual education dictated various changes within the financial sector.

In the realm of Investment Banking, previously successful leaders in the localized industry found themselves at a crossroads, with the choice between remaining stagnant and focused on local successes, or aggressively pursuing the changes that were swiftly emerging through globalization, implementing newly burgeoning trends, products, and offerings, for the sake of remaining competitive, forward-thinking, and ready to take on continuous expansion.

Barclays Investment Bank, founded in 1997, became a purposeful example of the merits of listening to the changing market demands, and following through with modernization efforts. 

Formerly known as Barclays Capital, the financial juggernaut headquartered in London has successfully built the vast infrastructure needed to spearhead continuous growth throughout the Golden Age of Technology.

It has remained open to emerging trends, new market products spreading throughout Europe, and looking forward to setting the standard for smaller counterparts.

Developed in 1997, Barclays was born prior to the widespread globalization that changed Investment Banking in unprecedented ways, and the company enjoying thoroughly organic growth since inception through “old fashioned” methods, like word of mouth, print advertising, and hyper-local marketing efforts.

Throughout initial operational methods, the company focused on providing exceptional customer service within a variety of spheres for businesses, including supervising and advising business clients regarding their investment opportunities, providing liquidity and capital for expanding businesses, and executing risk assessments for business investments.

While focusing primarily on business investment customers, the company also worked in tandem with individual investors, building a local portfolio of trusting customers.

This portfolio helped Barclays become a local household name, and with their organic physical expansion throughout the United Kingdom, allowed the company to garner new clients through a positive local reputation.

Through continuous advancements and expansion efforts, Barclays remained at the forefront of introducing new financial market products to an eager client base.

With expanding communication between individuals on a global scale, professionals and interested parties in the realm of investment options were closing the gaps between local trends, and gaining knowledge regarding fruitful opportunities available in other parts of the world.

Forward-thinking Investment Banks began to take note of this trend, and instead of risking customer loss to non-domestic investments being developed by newly emboldened clients, decided to begin offering these desired products.

By expanding their offerings to include these growing niche products, companies like Barclays successfully captured the growing markets for these products, and were able to provide individualized and local customer service tactics in tandem with the actual financial products, a feat not yet available on a global scale.

In this process, Barclays became a primary dealer in U.S. Treasury securities, and various European Government bonds shortly after introducing these money market products, which were gaining traction in other countries. 

STRIPS, or zero coupon government bonds, featured a singular pre-determined return upon maturation. Unlike other financial products, this expectation and transparency provided an unwavering certainty for investors regarding the end result of their investment.

Though STRIPS have historically culminated in lower returns per investment, their stable and straightforward nature has made STRIPS a popular investment opportunity for retirement fund investors, large companies seeking low-risk investments, and individuals dipping their feet into the realm of investment for the first time.

These instruments were extremely popular with investors between the early 1990’s to the financial crisis in 2008. New balance sheets regulations notably in Europe and very accommodative Central Banks reduced their attractiveness in the last years.

Upon garnering his Master of Finance degree from the coveted HEC Paris, Clement Perrette joined the workforce post-matriculation via an initial assignment at Société Générale Paris, where he garnered his first experiences with setting up a successfully operational Francs-based STRIPS desk.

Within this role, Perrette garnered the expertise needed to then successfully spearhead the creation of addition STRIPS programs within leading Investment Banks, including Paribas Paris, and Deutsche Bank Paris, before obtaining his long-term position with Barclays.

Upon joining the company in 2002 as the newly minted Head of EUR Long-End Rates Trading, Perrette swiftly employed his previously garnered insights regarding forward moving trends, and burgeoning subsections within the growing global finance sector.

Within his emerging role at Barclays, Perrette developed the company’s European market making franchise in Euro Rates products notably in EUR STRIPS markets.

With the understanding that localized customer centric interaction would not translate seamlessly within remote situations, Barclays capitalized on the growing culture of customer education, empowerment, and willingness to take new educated risks.

Perrette’s continued successes with Barclays have parlayed into increased leadership opportunities in conjunction with the company’s own progressive growth, moving into the Managing Director role within his department, and eventually, to an expansive role, of Head of the Investment Function, reporting directly to Barclays Plc CFO.

Throughout tenure at Barclays, Clement Perrette helped to position  its client service market  marking franchise to number 1 spot in Europe which allowed the company to enjoy a stellar reputation as a leading Investment Banking institution. 

 

As globalization continued to bridge the physical gap between investment opportunities, and financial culture began to operate on a global sphere, instead of through localized trends, Barclays capitalized on this concept through ongoing expansion efforts, and globally-bound marketing efforts.

With offices physically present in 29 countries, Barclays has leveraged their increasing presence within the realm of finance, and combined it with their desire to provide stellar physical customer service.

Through this dual approach, international expansion has allowed for the company to maintain a global presence, and simultaneously appear approachable and local. 

 

Amidst the backdrop of several financial crises, economic downfalls, and cultural shifts, Barclays has remained at the forefront of investment opportunities by recognizing the vast benefits of remaining forward-thinking, and adapting to ongoing changes.

Through the process of globalization, Barclays implemented this approach, and listened to social cues for the purpose of altering their offerings, creating new approaches for customer service, and maintaining long-term relationships via newly important methods.

From inception, the company has leveraged these strengths to become a household name, and has continuously evolved to meet the needs of changing populations, cultures, and the impacts of globalization.

Follow Clement Perrette on Medium and ThriveGlobal.

 
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