Citywealth caught up with Lisa Francis, CEO UK Private Bank and Crown Dependencies, Barclays Private Bank to discuss supporting clients through the challenges of 2020 and welcoming a lockdown puppy to the family.
Tell me about your role
I am CEO of the UK Private Bank and Crown Dependencies business at Barclays Private Bank. My team is spread across four locations, which include London, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. My focus is on developing and executing a strong growth agenda across the business, particularly in the areas of the UK Private Bank, Fiduciaries, Funds administration, and Family Offices. My objective is to strengthen our existing franchise as well as explore strategic opportunities across the Barclays group, which look to improve performance and deliver the very best of Barclays for clients.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Given the environment we currently live in, I spend my days now working remotely from my home office, so I will describe to you how my days looked pre COVID-19. I always try to start my mornings with exercise and the gym. I find it’s the best way to blow away the cobwebs and get into the right mind-set for the day.
Helped by a number of strong coffees, I begin my meetings early and if I am honest, most of my day is back-to-back meetings; anything from briefings with my leadership team to client meetings. I also like to make time to mentor individuals, being a mentor is something I feel very strongly about and take a great deal of pleasure in. It might seem like a lot for a day but I like to keep up a high pace of activity.
If my diary is clear of any client engagements in the evening, then I head home to spend time with my three children and husband and recharge, ready to do it all again the next day!
Tell us about a recent client instruction
I was really proud of the team recently when a large client deal came into fruition. The client is a long standing client of Barclays and was introduced to the Private Bank through our Corporate and Investment Bank. Our organisation has supported the client throughout their business journey and development. Nurturing our client relationships is at the very core of our success within the Private Bank. We support and stay close to our clients, chaperoning them through their personal and professional lives, these strong relationships are the foundation of our business.
What challenges do your clients face and how are you helping your clients to overcome them?
Speaking to business owners is a significant part of our work at the Private Bank. 2020 has been a challenging year for all businesses and our Private Banking clients are no different. Our clients often have fast growing businesses and in recent months they have had to pivot their strategies and be agile to react to consumer needs. Businesses which had strong digital foundations have perhaps found it easier to navigate this new challenging environment, but those that were aligned to traditional retail models have had to be nimble and show resilience. This year has also made many of our clients take a step back and reflect on how they have structured their wealth and to make provisions for estate planning, the transfer of wealth and the future.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
It has to be my role as the CEO of the UK Private Bank and Crown Dependencies. I´ve had many different roles all running client facing business. In my most recent, previous role I ran an FX Sales business within Markets in the Investment Bank so the shift to running a Private Banking business was significant. Luckily I joined with a great team around me and have loved the journey of learning and growing the business and developing colleagues. I enjoy how diverse my job and agenda are on a daily basis. It has also been great to reconnect with old faces and clients that I know from my career in the Investment Bank.
Who do you most admire and why?
I can’t say that there is just one individual person that I admire. I have been touched by many individuals both professionally and personally. My grandmother, who is 101 years old, has had a profound impact on my sisters and me. She has been a great strong female role model and showed me at a young age what it means to be resilient. I also admire and am grateful to the robust bosses that I have had over the years. One boss early in my career really challenged me to prove my abilities and deliver, we are still in touch and now friends that rely on each other as sounding boards for our careers today.
What three things would you take to a desert island?
This is a tough one … I will assume that my husband and children are with me on the desert island already! In that case, I would be lost without my iphone to keep up to date with friends, family and of course business. Second on the list would have to be a comfortable sun lounger and lastly, I would take a good book on how to train a puppy! We recently welcomed Barney, our first dog, into the family and despite being very cute, there is a lot of training to be done!
Top tips for WFH?
Working from home is not easy. I think it is important to recognise that everyone has varying domestic environments and responsibilities and that the abrupt transition to working from home during COVID 19 has been somewhat challenging. My first tip would be the importance of getting into a routine and holding yourself accountable to this. Next would be to set yourself clear break times and to recharge, log off and do something outside of work, like reading a book or going for a walk. Finally, stay connected! Working from home can be extremely isolating, use all the tools available to you to stay connected to colleagues.
If you weren’t in the wealth management industry, what else might you be doing?
Well, my passion growing up was competitive swimming and perhaps I would have continued with this for some time but I really feel that inevitably I would have chosen to run my own business. I am attracted to and motivated by growing businesses, developing people and leaving things better than I found them. I am pretty sure that the drive and determination of our incredible clients has had a huge impact on me as a leader and business woman.