Barclays Wealth, a unit of U.K.-based Barclays plc, hired Stephen Head as Managing Director and Regional Manager for Texas. Based in Dallas, Head will be responsible for managing the Dallas and Houston offices, as well as growing the regional business. He will report to Steve Houston, who was promoted in June to build the firm's high-net-worth client business and expand its advisor network.

Head has four decades of experience in financial services, according to Barclays. Most recently, he was head of U.S. client development at Carlson Capital in Dallas. And before that, he served as Dallas regional manager, equities division, at UBS, where he worked for15 years in a variety of senior roles. He also has worked at First Boston and Smith Barney.

“We are very happy to have a leader like Steve, who has extensive industry experience and a deep understanding of the Texas region, join our team,” said Mitch Cox, Head of Barclays Wealth, Americas, and Head of Global Research and Investments for all of Barclays Wealth in a press release. “As part of a significant global investment in our business and platform, we are rapidly growing in the U.S. Steve is the right person to drive the growth in the Texas area.”

Barclays has a major presence globally, but with about 250 financial advisors in the United States, is only as large as a small regional here. But it has been making serious moves to expand in the United States. It has quietly been on a hiring spree that began last year. It hired 50 new advisors last year nationally and plans to add another 50 to 100 this year. Barclays bought Lehman's private investment management business in 2008 when Lehman filed for bankruptcy and has been using that as its base for U.S. operations ever since.

Market observers told On Wall Street previously that Barclays intends to become a big player in the U.S. wealth market. Indeed, the company says it is in the process of investing more than $1 billion internationally to transform itself to a top-tier wealth manager catering to an ultra-high-net-worth niche.

But it is also being very selective with new hires. One source familiar with the company said that Barclays has used recruiters sparingly, so it’s hard for advisors to get in the door. So in regard to its growth plans, the main question is whether it will continue to add advisors one or two at a time, or make another acquisition.

But sheer size is not what Barclays is aiming for, sources say. Given its strategy of catering to clients with $10 million or more in investable assets, it is looking to grow within the boutique space, competing head-to-head with the likes of Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank or Credit Suisse. Those firms cater to a high-end clientele, and trade partly on the fact that they are connected to an investment bank.

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