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.

Bankers get painful and needed conflicts reminder

October 13, 2014

A $76 mln penalty against RBC for working both sides of a deal is the latest blow to skewed loyalties. Even with recent slaps at Goldman and Barclays, it isn’t clear the message is reaching Wall Street. Delaware courts seem up to the task of delivering it as loudly as it takes.

UK banks have much to fear from latest probe

By Chris Hughes
July 18, 2014

Britain’s top antitrust watchdog has warned lenders to expect a full-blown competition investigation. Forced divestments would be a surprising outcome. But given the persistence of concern in spite of past probes, investors should brace for radical, profit-sapping remedies.