Barclays is cutting about 150 jobs in its corporate banking department in the UAE, as part of a wider restructuring of its business in the second-biggest GCC economy.
The UK-based lender will close its office in Dubais Emaar Square and relocate some of the staff to its Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) branch, according to UK news agency Reuters, which cited an unnamed source familiar with the matter. The bank will continue corporate business in the region, with clients partly served from other regions. It will retain its wholesale banking licence in the UAE and will also keep its corporate branch in Abu Dhabi.
The bank is aligning its Middle East corporate banking business to international locations such as the US, as well as to the banks regional investment arm and wealth and investment management business, a Barclays spokesperson told Reuters. We are adopting an operating model that better leverages our global capabilities and centres of excellence, the spokesperson said.
The corporate business restructuring in the Middle East is part of a wider global shake-up of Barclays global business after Jes Staley took reins as CEO in December. The bank will cut about 1,000 jobs in investment banking worldwide and close its cash equities business in Asia. In 2014, Barclays sold its retail banking operations in the UAE to Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) for an estimated AED650m ($177m).
Barclays is not the only international lender to scale back operations in the UAE, the business and commercial hub of the Middle East. The economy is facing a slowdown on the back of sliding oil prices, which have fallen by 70 per cent since mid-2014.
The UKs HSBC has cut more than 150 jobs from its UAE banking operations, as Europes biggest lender implements its global downsizing plans amid declining profitability. Similarly, the UK-based Standard Chartered has reduced the headcount of senior-to-mid-level bankers in the UAE by about 100.
Local lenders have also resorted to cutting staff in recent months to control costs. Banks in the UAE are grappling with government withdrawals, shrinking liquidity, stunted loan growth and exposure to high-risk sectors such as contracting and property finance.
National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah (RAKBank), the Abu Dhabi-listed lender has shed close to 250 jobs in January as part of organisational restructure. The UAEs First Gulf Bank, the countrys third-biggest bank by assets, has cut 100 jobs in December from various departments including corporate and investment banking.