Breakingviews

Barclays inches forward as rivals inch back

April 27, 2016

The UK lender’s first-quarter investment banking performance was less calamitous than peers’, but group return on equity was a sparse 3.8 pct. It should tick up if boss Jes Staley can keep selling unloved assets. If speed sometimes takes precedence over price, that’s okay.

New Barclays investment-bank boss may revise realm

February 19, 2016

Tom King is leaving and liable to be replaced by an outsider. Recruiting a new leader won’t be easy for Barclays CEO Jes Staley, himself an investment banker now atop one that lacks top-five clout. Just who he picks, though, could send a clearer signal about the strategy.

Barclays, not HSBC, should mull quitting the UK

November 5, 2015

HSBC caused a scene by suggesting it might move its HQ to Hong Kong. But it makes more sense for UK-based peer Barclays to move to New York. Its new CEO is American, the U.S. is better able to house a systemically important bank, and Barclays might dodge UK bank and bonus rules.

Qatar’s austerity drive will be felt beyond Doha

November 5, 2015

Despite being among the wealthiest people on the planet, Qataris must cut “wasteful” spending as low energy prices squeeze revenue, their ruler has warned. Years of high-profile investments including VW, Glencore and Barclays mean it may not just be Qataris who feel the pinch.

Barclays’ bonus-free vision not entirely utopian

October 23, 2015

The UK bank’s outspoken chairman is right: huge annual bonus payments warp behaviour. But John McFarlane is also right that Barclays can’t scrap them if rivals don’t. Banks are unlikely to club together on this point, but regulators still could. The U.S. is the laggard.

Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche: which to back?

October 19, 2015

Three of Europe’s top four investment banks have new leadership bent on strategic change. Deutsche Bank’s task is hardest: its top line relies most on low-return trading activity. Credit Suisse’s equities prowess and headstart over Barclays in finding a new CEO give it an edge.

Barclays investment bank is hardest to turn round

July 9, 2015

The UK lender, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have all changed chief executives this July. Each has a distinct investment banking challenge. The Swiss bank is capital-light, Deutsche needs to cut costs. Yet Barclays’ shrinking top line suggests its revamp will be the toughest.

Wall Street lead over EU banks looks set in stone

June 17, 2015

European trading and advisory revenue is down 30 pct since 2010 while U.S. investment banking has grown. Now Deutsche Bank and HSBC are cutting further, even more ground will be ceded. The region’s tentative recovery and capital markets project offer only slim hope of a reversal.

Barclays’ trading woes offset pay restraint

March 3, 2015

The UK bank has cut investment bank bonuses by a quarter, atoning for a PR gaffe last year when pay rose despite a drop in profit. But 2014 results show returns in the unit are also lower. To maintain its turnaround, Barclays may have to shrink the misfiring division further

FX fines are wake-up call on self-policing

November 12, 2014

The $3.4 bln settlement for five banks works out on average at 20 pct higher than Libor – because the firms failed to mend their ways. Regulators are seeking yet tougher internal controls. Banks have a last chance to show they can treat clients fairly.