Barclays Wealth plans to expand in the next five years and to help it do so it announced  Wednesday it hired Stefanie Drews as managing director of ultra-high-net-worth for the United Kingdom and Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Barclays Wealth, the wealth-management unit of U.K.-based Barclays plc, said Drews will be responsible for continuing the expansion of its ultra-high-net-worth team.

“This is a very significant appointment, particularly in the context of our growth plans over the course of the next five years,” said Thomas L. Kalaris, the chief executive officer of Barclays Wealth. 

Drews joins Barclays Wealth from Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, where she spent the last 13 years, most recently as a managing director in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. 

She will report jointly to David Semaya, the head of U.K. & Ireland private banking, and Emmanuel Fievet, the head of international private banking for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Barclays Wealth has been making serious moves to expand in the United States. Barclays only has about 250 financial advisors in the United States, but it is continuing 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. Those additions will be offset by some attrition, but one source familiar with the company said he believes it is gearing up to be a big player in the U.S. wealth market, as opposed to selling off the unit.

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.

Barclays 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.

Globally, the firm's 1,680 advisors oversee approximately $218 billion in assets under management, up from $146 billion over the past four years.

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