What BGI was doing...

Previously part of The Woolwich, BGI Swanley provided unit trust and PEP / ISA plan management services under the Woolwich Unit Trust Managers (WUTM) and Woolwich Plan Managers (WPM) brands respectively. The acquisition of The Woolwich by Barclays plc in October 2000, and its subsequent integration into Barclays Global Investors (BGI), provided BGI Swanley with the opportunity to create a new revenue stream via the packaging and administration of structured equity products. These are fixed term, tranche-based products that offer equity-linked returns, typically with a degree of protection, which may be held in a tax efficient (PEP or ISA) wrapper.

Launch of such a structured equity product was made possible by BGI Swanley's new-found ability to leverage its sister organisations within the Barclays Group, including its parent BGI as well as Barclays Capital and Woolwich Financial Advisors (WIFAS). Indeed, with Barclays Capital providing the underlying asset (a medium term note or MTN), BGI providing expertise in derivatives complex structures, WPM undertaking the product packaging, transfer agencies and plan management activities, and WIFAS undertaking the role of product distributor, this was the first example of a single bank front-to-back issue in the UK.

How Bluerock helped...

Bluerock Consulting played a key role at all stages in the successful delivery of BGI's first structured equity product, from creation of the underlying business case through to project management of the delivery of the first tranche of the product.


"Bluerock worked well with our management team, they maintained project disciplines whilst ongoing and communicating in a positive way with both internal and external providers."

"We set ourselves extremely aggressive timeframes for the launch of our new structured equity products, which we are unlikely to have achieved without the help Bluerock provided."

Paul Pashley
Operations Director, BGI Swanley


Production of the business case involved working closely with key individuals from across Barclays Group, and in particular with the project sponsor, Paul Pashley, Operations Director of BGI Swanley. As structured equity products destined for the UK retail market were a new proposition for BGI, particular emphasis was placed upon the regulatory & compliance and tax implications of the product, a process made easier by utilising Barclays Capital's "SIMPLE" MTN product structure. However, the decision to proceed was not based entirely upon whether BGI could manufacture this product profitably, but agreement had to be gained from across the organisation in terms of operating and product risk and on a revised product strategy.

Having gained approval to launch, BGI set itself the extremely demanding target of launching - in a structured and repeatable manner - the first, pilot tranche of its structured equity products in under four months. Bluerock were engaged to provide rigorous project management throughout the launch process, ensuring that all parties knew what was required of them and that each individual step in the process was achieved on time.

A workstream-based structure was quickly mobilised, entailing virtual teams looking after Product Development; Legal & Compliance; Operations; Finance and Technology. A BGI Swanley workstream manager led each of these teams with support provided by staff from across the Group and external suppliers, including its core systems provider reporting directly to the Bluerock project manager.

Activity was intense, but the first tranche of the structured equity product was launched to schedule on 21 April 2003, proving an immediate success with the customers of The Woolwich. The processes and systems implemented proved robust and there has been a steady stream of new tranches launched since that date.