Barclays creates development agency offering

Published: August 18, 2010

Le Goater heads new team to serve projects in Africa. 

Barclays Corporate has announced that Lisa Le Goater has joined the bank to spearhead its new development organisation offering.

From her London base the head of global development organisations will create products for such agencies and believes that the bank’s network, particularly in Africa and Asia, will allow it to support them in their countries of operation.

Le Goater joins from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. She has also held senior positions at Merrill Lynch, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Citibank. Barclays says she was appointed due to her experience of working with the development sector through the UN, development finance organisations and government groups.  

In the past few years more than US$200bn has been invested by development institutions in various projects globally, with some US$11bn of that distributed in countries where Barclays has a presence. The bank has been working with development organisations for some time, mainly involving foreign exchange and deposits, but many of these organisations need banking services to support their projects, such as moving money around the globe.

“Given the group’s extensive global footprint it felt that some of our network was under-recognised and probably under-utilised by the development community,” Le Goater tells emeafinance. “So what I’m trying to do is match up this network that we have across Africa and Asia with the development organisations that are working there.”

Africa is an important market for the bank – in South Africa, for example, it is a majority shareholder in Absa, which has 900 branches, while its competitors have “less than a handful”. Development agencies need to get cash to remote parts of the country and Barclays discovered that some of its competitors were using it as an agent.

“Our view is that we have had banks established in many of these markets for over 100 years and we are usually the number one treasury bank, so it would be more cost effective for these development organisations to deal with us directly than through our competitors,” Le Goater says. The bank created hew new role to provide a fuller range of services to its development agency clients. “In a couple of years we really want to be seen as a key strategic adviser to the sector,” she adds.

Le Goater is not daunted by the role. “We have a fantastic story to tell,” she says. “When the development organisations see our network they are amazed, they think it’s fantastic. They wish someone had come and pointed this out to them sooner.”