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Barclays Decides To Shore Up Balance Sheet

News that Barclays Bank has sold off its life insurance portfolio to Swiss Re for £753 million will be welcomed by shareholders as a further strengthening of the group's core financial ratios and balance sheet. Unlike Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which is currently struggling to sell off its insurance division for any where near the original £7 billion price tag, Barclays has completed the much smaller life insurance sale with the minimum of fuss.

Even the stronger financial groups around the world are struggling to raise capital in the current market conditions, something which is seriously hindering the sale of the RBS division. It seems as though small bolt-on sized sales are the way forward and while the £753 million price tag may seem irrelevant in the overall scheme if things, it does show the management is being proactive rather than reactive.

As core financial ratios come under more pressure over the next few months it will be a test of the various management's resolve to see how they cope. Selling off large assets at a fraction of their true worth is not the way forward but is something which seems to be under consideration by many financial institutions around the world.

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