British banking giant Barclays has applied for a new banking licence to meet new UK ring-fence regulations, Reuters has reported.

Set to be effective from 2019, the law requires big lenders to separate their core banking services in the UK from riskier activities such as investment banking.

Barclays will likely to be the only major bank to require a new licence, as all its UK operations are bundled into one bank unlike rivals including RBS and HSBC who have over one UK licence or separate licences for UK businesses.

According to the publication, Barclays will select a narrow ring-fenced bank, which implies putting relatively few customers and activities inside the new arm.

"We have a much more complicated situation because we don’t have a ready-made bank already functioning … We need to create another bank and we’ve asked for another licence for that to happen," Reuters quoted Barclays chairman John McFarlane as saying.