James Morris, Barclays
Barclays Corporate Banking is the platinum sponsor of this year’s Bermuda Captive Conference. Ahead of the event, Captive International sat down with James Morris, head of UK insurance and captive banking, to discuss how Barclays is supporting the sector.
*Since this article was published, Faisal Ansari has been named as head of the newly formed corporate strategic solutions team at Barclays Corporate Banking in London, which oversees the captives business among other areas.
It is an exciting time to be working in the captive insurance industry. The number of captives operating globally is steadily rising, and is set to accelerate as the hardening market encourages companies to review their insurance strategies.
Markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore are taking steps to encourage more captives to set up, while more mature markets such as Guernsey and Bermuda are reporting an increase in enquiries.
These trends have not been created by the COVID-19 pandemic, but certainly look set to accelerate in coming months as corporates attempt to navigate the economic challenges they face. Businesses that own a captive have been able to lean heavily on them in recent months, as providers of insurance and sources of liquidity.
“We already have the processes in place to meet a captive’s banking needs.”
Many of the world’s biggest companies already own a captive, and will feel their efforts have been vindicated. Many mid-market firms that do not will now be considering their self-insurance options.
“With over 20 years’ experience in the captive insurance market and a large, established team, we have a strong understanding of the needs of this industry and the support captive owners require from their banking partner,” says James Morris, head of UK insurance and captive banking at Barclays.
“Our differentiation is our people and the depths of their relationships with clients. We have industry-aligned teams with a wealth of expertise across the sector. We recognise captives need a banking partner who can truly understand the industry and the challenges they are facing.”
With interest in captives on the rise, Barclays has responded by streamlining the way it works with captive insurance clients and their parent companies to provide a more complete and joined-up service.
“There is a lot of value to our clients if we are able to work with them in a more holistic way,” Morris explains.
“We cover all aspects of a captive’s life cycle and can optimise processes by aligning with the needs of the parent company’s corporate treasury department.”
Captive insurance clients may also benefit from the technology investments Barclays is making in its corporate bank, as it seeks to digitise and automate processes to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
“The needs of our insurance clients are evolving and getting more complex, especially those of clients that are involved in the reinsurance and insurance-linked securities business,” says Morris.
“The investments we continue to make in digital and automation are really helping to bring innovation to the market, enhance our offering and generally speed up delivery across all our services,” he adds.
“This is what all our corporate clients expect, not only captives—people expect corporate banking to be as quick and hassle-free as their personal banking.”
Morris emphasises the importance of Barclays’ flexible and multifaceted approach, which allows it to tailor its services to suit the needs of its clients—especially important for captives, which have such a broad range of needs and cultures.
“Some captives are very close to their parent companies, whereas others are much more detached, so as a bank you have to be flexible in your approach,” says Morris.
“We are open across the market, from multinationals down to the smaller captives businesses, and we believe our flexible, holistic approach means we are best placed to support the larger captives owned by our bigger corporate clients.”
Whatever their needs or circumstances, Morris argues, it is essential that captives pick banking partners that have experience of working with the sector.
“We already have the processes in place to meet a captive’s banking needs, whatever those might be, throughout its entire life cycle—from start-up to run-off and everything in between,” he says.
“As the number of captives in Europe and Asia grows, and as multinationals expand into new regions, partnering with an international bank with deep history and expertise in the captives market has never been more important.”
Barclays, James Morris