Barclays appointment will step up use of AI in investment bank

Ex-Goldman Sachs expert will focus on improving Barclays’ trading services and making internal systems more efficient

Barclays Bank has appointed a head of innovation to its investment bank who will be tasked with harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) in the division.

Justin Brickwood, who spent more than 20 years with Goldman Sachs, will become head of markets and innovation at Barclays in September, joining the team led by CIO John Stecher.

As well as improving the trading services used by the bank’s investment customers, Brickwood will also focus on making internal systems more efficient by using the latest AI, machine learning and optimisation technologies. 

His most recent role at Goldman Sachs was head of Emea equities electronic trading engineering, as part of the equities execution services desk. 

Nas Al-Khudairi, global head of electronic equities at Barclays, said: “His extensive experience and expertise will be instrumental as we evolve the Markets business for future success and develop Barclays’ electronic capabilities to significantly enhance our client offering.”

AI is already predicted to transform the investment banking sector, with a huge increase in spending on the technology expected over the next few years.

Barclays said in a statement: “With advancements in technology rapidly disrupting the status quo, our digital strategy is instrumental to defend our business and pursue new revenue opportunities.

“Barclays will continue to selectively hire in the corporate and investment bank where exceptional talent becomes available, targeting those areas where we see opportunities for growth and to increase returns.”

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A report from financial services management consultancy Opimas said that in 2017 – discounting acquisitions of startups – finance firms in the investment sector spent $1.5bn on AI technologies, which will increase by 75% to $2.8bn in 2021.

While automation technology is being used to replace manual tasks in the back office, AI is being introduced at the front end to improve trading services.

Opimas said technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning, deep learning and cognitive analytics will replace 230,000 jobs in investment banking by 2025. The asset management sector will be hardest hit, with 90,000 people being replaced, it said.

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