Barclays Wealth promoted Steve Houston to head of Wealth Management Americas.

Houston will be responsible for building the firm’s high net worth client business and expanding its advisor network. He reports to Mitch Cox, head of Barclays Wealth Americas and head of global research and investments for all of Barclays Wealth.

Houston joined Barclays last year as global head of relationship management and distribution. For the 10 years prior to that, he worked in global wealth management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch [BAC] in several senior roles including sales and product development leadership positions.

“Over more than two decades of private wealth experience, Steve has developed a deep understanding of client needs and demonstrated an outstanding ability to lead wealth businesses,” Cox said. “As part of a significant global investment in our business and platforms, we are rapidly growing in the U.S. and attracting top-performing teams. With his track record, Steve is the right person to drive our regional build-out.”

Although it has a relatively small presence in the United States, Barclays Wealth Americas, a division of UK-based Barclays, has been expanding in recent years. It is in the process of investing more than $1 billion globally to transform itself to a top tier wealth manager.

It currently has about 250 advisors and $219 million in assets under management. Those assets have increased from $146 million over the past four years. And in terms of headcount, the company hired 50 new advisors last year, and plans to add another 50 to 100 this year. Those additions will be offset by some attrition.

Those numbers pale in comparison to the wirehouses, which have anywhere from 7,000 to 18,000 advisors, or even the larger regionals, which have upwards of 2,000. But Barclays is carving out a niche for itself with very high-end clients, those with $10 million in investable assets and more.

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