Product Distribution Should Barclay's Caribbean Operations Merge  Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Product, Distribution

Should Barclay's Caribbean Operations Merge?

The strategy for Barclay in the Caribbean is to consider the market as a small share of the global commercial and investment banking market. Business units that operate in the Caribbean or West Indies are seen as offshore business operations with emerging onshore business. (Wood, Beamish, 2004) The units have also focused on reducing operational risk exposure as ameans to drive revenue growth. Such a strategy is rather conservative and represents a risk-free growth rate for Barclay's Caribbean operations.

Barclay's operations are extensive and span the globe with offices and accounts on six of seven continents. "Corporate and business services are offered in all 14 countries, and offshore banking services are offered in the Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), and Turks & Caicos. Corporate banking accounts for 45% of corporate income, personal banking 27 per cent and offshore banking 28 per cent." (Wood, Beamish, 2004)

The operation Barclay's manages in the Caribbean is rather small compared to its total portfolio of $5.2 billion assets under management (AUM). The 72.6 million managed throughout the Caribbean represents 1.92 per cent of Barclay's total AUM. Indeed, the amount of its Caribbean investment is a rather small percentage of the total AUM. (Wood, Beamish, 2004)

Competitive Strategy in the Caribbean focuses on competing against the prime competitor in the market, CIBC. New market entrants include banks such as CitiGroup, which is a multinational powerhouse and seeking to remove market share from Barclay's operation in the Caribbean. "The onshore retail and corporate businesses, competition comes from large Canadian banks (principally CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada and Scotiabank) and from regional indigenous banks (e.g. Republic Bank of Trinidad)." (Wood, Beamish, 2004)

The current strategy is working as assets in the Caribbean grew as a percentage of total assets under management. Offshore operations should become of greater focus of the Caribbean operations for Barclay's and either divest other divisions or sell off units to competitors. Competition is increasing for Barclay's and the level of success received in offshore operations is reason to consider expansion in that area.

Marketing strategy for Barclay's should exceed current levels in order to avoid the need to merge with CIBC. The proposed strategy of merging with CIBC will yield 3 major accounts at a price that perhaps could be avoided should an extensive marketing plan be launched and targeted to obtain market share from CIBC. These accounts include The Bahamas, Barbados, and The Cayman Islands. To a lesser extent, the British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, and Turks and Caicos Islands have accounts worth mentioning with CIBC.

These accounts are primarily personal customer accounts with CIBC and not business accounts. Personal customer accounts are easier targets for a marketing plan to obtain these customers and increase market share. "FirstCaribbean, created in 2002 to combine the Caribbean operations of Barclays and CIBC, is the English-speaking Caribbean's largest bank, doing business on 26 islands and territories. It's pan-regional presence allows the ban to offer a one-stop approach for investors. It offers international mortgage loans, for example, for purchasers of residential real estate in Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and the Turks & Caicos." (Platt, Hawser, Neville, Green, 2005)

Barclay's in the mid stage life cycle of the Caribbean market. The early stage had Barclay's and CIBC competing for the lion's share of the aggregate banking market. As additional banks now enter the market and compete for personal and commercial business, the market becomes ever more dynamic and subject to change. "In addition to the retail and commercial services, major banks in the Caribbean also serve the U.S.$1.1 billion capital markets in the region. The capital markets business in the West Indies is composed mainly of debt financing arrangements. It is considered a new and emerging sector comprising eight players in this marketplace." (Wood, Beamish, 2004)

The life cycle stage is different from the current strategy as a 'dividend' type policy is what ostensibly is in effect in an emerging market. Barclay's is in a non-aggressive strategy in the Caribbean. The emerging market in the Caribbean however, represents opportunity for personal and business clients in the region and the new banking regimes that are aggressively entering the market.

Barclay is a leader in customer service (Wood, Beamish, 2004) and believes customer service quality is the key to retaining market share as well as growing market share against existing competitors and new entrants into the market. "With no players having an obvious opportunity to develop a sustainable competitive advantage, Barclays believes that the player that achieves the best productivity (and can match the best customer service) is likely to succeed in the medium term. This has led Barclays to increase its focus on how to maximize the cost effectiveness of its operating model." (Wood, Beamish, 2004)


Barclay's engages in "corporate and business services, offshore banking, corporate banking, and personal banking accounts and services." (Wood, Beamish, 2004) The product is money market account management and security-based transactions. Additionally, provide a means to act as a clearing house for brokerage firms globally.


Barclay's is a competitively priced bank with exceptional customer service for clients seeking a banking partner in the Caribbean. The growth in deposits is a function of the relative price for certificates of deposit and other investment vehicles available at through Barclay's. If the pricing of banking at Barclays were not competitive in the market, the aggregate value of deposits at the bank would not have increased 400% over the five-year period from 1997 to 2001.

Deposits in 1997 were at 2.8 billion, 3.28 billion in 1998, 6.01 billion in 1999, 6.71 billion in 2000 and 8.19 billion in 2001. Assets as a function of deposits also grew approximately 400 per cent over the period from 1997 to 2001. The pricing of securities and for brokerage services is a major attraction to banking in the Caribbean. The offshore banking services are sought after by investors seeking to enter the market or establish operations from throughout the world.


The Caribbean is a haven for offshore investment from banks, bankers, and investors from throughout the world. The global reach of Caribbean banking has created a highly profitable yet fully capable banking system that retains private accounts for all of its banking partners. Caribbean banking is central among a grouping of islands that comprise the Caribbean islands.

Banking in the Caribbean was established during the Colonial times, which is why the place in the Caribbean is rather unusual. Were it not established as a Colonialized banking post to exchange currency and trade commodities, there perhaps would not be such an established banking system in the Caribbean with Barclay's enjoying an established presence in the region.


Promotion of banking services throughout the Caribbean focused on increasing "share of existing customers through improvement of consumer lending propositions. Limited investment to rationalize the operating model through centralization initiatives and closure of marginal branches." (Wood, Beamish, 2004) Promotion of services is most effective in The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Financial Analysis

From a marketing perspective, the financial analysis of Barclay's operations in the Caribbean are relatively efficient and effective at maintaining market share against CIBC and the emerging growth of CitiGroup and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Additionally, profits for Barclay's in the Caribbean are not made as a function of the marketing budget or even as a function of growth in percentage of market share.

"These banks viewed the Caribbean as a small part of their global operations, and they typically focused on maximizing profits and shareholder returns. They were an oligopoly, involving a small number of players with limited government control. Consequently, the banks co-operated…

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