Barclays was a traditional, Quaker High Street clearing bank whose roots in Britain and its colonies literally went back centuries. The bank was a traditional and commercial bank with branches across the world Barclaycard was the best known financial brand in the UK. The transformation of Barclays into Britain’s only real bulge bracket investment bank began during London’s Big Bank in 1986. I had the honour to interview Sir Martin Jacomb, chairman of Barclays de Zoete Wedd (BZW) for the Wharton Journal and he literally predicated a transformation in global banking and the Eurobond market we both adored. My own career saw me shuttle between the Wall Street of the Sherman McCoy era and the late Mrs. Thatcher’s City of London, amid the trading rooms where Ivy League and Oxbridge brats moved billions of dollars of money across the digital arteries of world finance.
Sir Martin and Lord Camoys knew that London’s Big Bang was a game changer event even as asset securitization and the derivative markets changed the DNA of banking, with debt trading and capital markets the hottest game in deregulated Londonium. Not since Sir Sigmund Warburg had such visionary, cosmopolitan financiers built a global investment bank in a mere decade.