Interview: Olivier Franceschelli, Head of Private Banking in Monaco

In taking the lead at Barclays Private Bank Monaco, Olivier Franceschelli will further strengthen Barclays position as the longest-serving foreign wealth manager in the Principality.
Mr Franceschelli spoke to Monaco Life about his vision for the Monegasque institution which is nearing its 100th year, the importance of linking private and investment banking, and what he thinks the future of finance looks like.
Monaco Life: Can you explain what it was like to take up such a senior position at Barclays during the peak of the Covid crisis?
Olivier Franceschelli: I have to say, despite one’s efforts to tick all the boxes and take care of all the details, sometimes incredible things can happen. I actually ended up joining the Barclays team working from home. It was quite an interesting experience because it allowed me to discover the team spirit that exists at Barclays Monaco. As you can imagine, I had to get to know my team, build a relationship and share my vision with them, all by Webex!  Fortunately, everything went well. Everyone was prepared and very helpful. Then after a month, I joined the team in the office. We have 50% of the team back in the office now, but as you say it was a very particular moment to join.
Can you tell us what your vision is for Barclays Private Bank Monaco?
Given the expertise that I have gained over the past 17 years working in foreign banking institutions, I have a vision about what this bank – the only banking institution in Monaco with British heritage – should be in terms of servicing residents and new clients relocating to Monaco. There is obviously a very high number of high net worth individuals (HNWI) in Monaco, and it is a very strategic location for the private bank.
My mission as the new Head of Barclays Private Bank in Monaco is to drive growth and develop our private banking offering while bringing the full capabilities of the Barclays Group to serve our clients’ needs. By providing a connection to Barclays’ leading Investment Bank and Corporate Bank to our clients in the region, Barclays Private Bank is able to bring the power of one Barclays to our clients in Monaco.
When I joined Barclays, I was pleasantly surprised to see how strong the links between the private bank and our corporate and investment businesses are. In fact, we have daily communications with what we call our Strategic Solutions Group, which is all about bringing the power of one of the largest investment banks in the world to the sophisticated clients of the Private Bank in the Principality. This is one of the core pillars of the firm’s ultra-high net worth (UHNW) proposition and provides strategic solutions to UHNW clients by leveraging the capabilities of Barclays Corporate and Investment Bank. We also bring the expertise of our specialists in different areas, including Structured Products, Discretionary Mandates, Long Only Funds and Alternative assets; and have capabilities to finance assets in the Principality, France and in other parts of the world like the UK or the US, with a very strong expertise in real estate.
How important is the growing trend of global family offices setting up shop in Monaco to Barclays?
It is clearly a movement we have been seeing. In July, we welcomed Effie Datson to the Barclays Private Bank leadership team as Global Head of Family Office. In this newly created role, Effie is working to grow the Global Family Office (GFO) client segment in partnership with the business and product heads and coordinating across all product areas to further define and enhance our GFO proposition and product set.
From my experience, UHNWIs have a tendency to regroup themselves in single or multi-family offices, and Barclays Private Bank is well prepared to serve this kind of client. Today, even if you are talking to a big single family office which is established in Monaco, you have to be prepared for the fact that they may need to open an account in Luxembourg, send their children to America, maintain property in the UK and open a branch in Australia, for example. This means that our product and services need to be flexible and that we ensure that all the different parts of the bank are working together to serve this family office.
In addition to having a good reputation, being a good advisor, and serving clients in Monaco, today banks need to able to provide clients with bespoke solutions wherever and whenever they need it.
How many assets under management are there at Barclays Private Bank Monaco?
Barclays Private Bank is part of Barclays Bank PLC, and as such we do not share numbers for Monaco specifically. However, I can confirm we are ranked number four in the official table of banks in Monaco in terms of assets under management.
Do you have a figure that you would like to achieve?
As I previously mentioned, we are ranked 4th in Monaco in terms of assets under management. Of course, it would be fantastic to advance in terms of position, but the quality of service we offer our clients is extremely important for us and that is our focus.
What is your first objective then?
My main objective is to bring the very best of Barclays to private bank clients in Monaco. Many of our international clients want to feel exactly the same in Monaco as they would when banking in the UK or Switzerland. Clients expect to have a global discussion with us, not just talk about the bank account they have in Monaco. Today, banking and investing are more complex than ever and clients want access to the full capabilities of Barclays no matter where they are in the world at a certain point in time. To support this ambition, Barclays Private Bank has strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of Melanie Aimer as Global Head of Client Experience. In this new role, Melanie will support our strategic growth ambitions by taking on end-to-end responsibility for client experience, including product propositions, marketing and distribution and digital face to market and client facing processes.
How will you achieve this?
The connections within the group are efficient and the way we work both locally and globally is based on strong collaboration. For example, our advisors participate in business calls through market managers. If someone has a client from a particular part of the world, they can communicate with the relevant market manager, who is aware of what is happening in that market, and offer a coordinated and tailor-made solution to the client. This transglobal approach is working extremely well.
How much of a focus is sustainability for Barclays?
ESG has been the coming force in investment in recent years and Barclays Private Bank has a globally recognised expertise in sustainable investing. In Monaco, last February we were named best private bank in Monaco for sustainable and impact investing by Euromoney.
We are receiving many requests from clients regarding global ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investments. Following the pandemic, there has been enormous engagement and plenty of questions on what tomorrow’s allocation on ESG products will be. An increasing number of UHNWs and Family Offices are focusing today on the societal impact of their investments.
Where does Barclays position itself in a FinTech future?
We recognise the importance of FinTech and it is an area of focus for us. This is definitely something that is going to develop. I have been in Monaco for 19 years, and lately I have seen a different, younger type of resident coming into the Principality: aged in their late 40s with young children and a different view of what they expect from the Principality. I believe FinTech is going to be more present, we will see an acceleration in the sector. All across the financial sector, people are moving towards a mobile first strategy and our aim is to combine the very best in sector tech with a more engaging and personalised digital experience for our clients.