Barclays Bank has acquired execution-only broker Charles Schwab Europe (CSE). The bank says it will merge the operations of the two companies to create the leading market player in UK retail broking.
Integration of the two businesses is expected to take between six and nine months. Under the plans, Barclays will close down CSE sites in Birmingham and Milton Keynes, consolidating the two operations at its sites in Glasgow and Peterborough. With the addition of CSE's 150,000 accounts, the combined business will have over 500,000 execution-only clients.
Barclays says integration will focus on enhancing the complementary strengths of the two businesses, bringing together Barclays Stockbrokers’ independent research and overseas dealing capabilities with CSE’s stockbroker service, which is mainly distributed through the online channel.
Bob Hunter, chief executive, Barclays Private Clients, comments: "By combining the UK’s largest stockbroker with the player offering the best online service in the country we will expand the breadth and quality of investment services that we can offer the customers of both organisations. At the same time we expect to achieve significant efficiency gains."
William Atwell, EVP Schwab International, says the market has changed considerably in the ten years since CSE first set up shop in the UK. "It became clear that we could not achieve our market share goals in the UK without an acquisition or a significant investment in the expansion of our pound sterling services to a fuller offering integrated with banking," he says. "Ultimately we reached the difficult conclusion that such an investment did not make sense for our firm at this time."