The (Alleged) Secret To Barclays' Success: Strict Enforcement Of Hiring Rule Generally Waived At Other Banks

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This is the first bold claim in a Financial Times article today on how Barclays Capital has done so well for itself over the last 14 years: "most investment banks claim to have a 'no-jerk' policy on hiring." Of course, on occasion, said rule is overlooked. Not too many times, once, maybe twice at Goldman Sachs. But at BarCap? NEVER ("at BarCap the policy is taken seriously from the top executive suites on down.") It's just one of the many ways the firm keeps its people grounded and in doing so has been able to consistently make it rain. Others include:

* Making new hires work for it: "BarCap also will not take on a senior hire as a managing director – the ultimate sign of status in investment banking circles – if he or she has not already earned the title at their own institution. Those that have not yet made MD rank then have to make the cut through BarCap’s own internal vetting process.

* Taking a page from Goldman's playa-book: "Potential employees are frequently interviewed by as many as 15-20 different people, depending on job level. While perhaps less tortuous than the notoriously lengthy process at Goldman Sachs, where applicants can be subjected to more than 30 interviews, it is tougher than most other European institutions."

* Unofficially forcing employees to take either cabs or black cars to work lest they suffer intense ridicule: "One long-serving executive recounts the tale of a senior banker, brought in to build an important new business within BarCap’s booming fixed income operation in the early part of the decade, showing up in a limousine. 'He didn’t last very long,' the executive chuckles."

* Keeping it ridiculously real: "Other than those that must be submitted to regulators, there are no organisational charts at BarCap and no personalised stationery for senior bankers."

* Not sure how this jibes with the image they're putting out there but go with it: "Perhaps one of the biggest status symbols at BarCap is the 24-carat gold cuff links awarded to every new MD, engraved with the Barclays Capital logo (female MDs are given a choice of a BarCap pendant). Like most things at the bank, the cufflinks were redesigned after an earlier version failed to meet executives’ exacting standards."

Related

Barclays CEO Promises To Clear Out His Desk In Hypothetical Scenario In Which Bank Decides To Start Engaging In Rampant Fraud Again

Mr. Jenkins and the firm’s chairman, David Walker, told politicians on Tuesday that they were prioritizing ethics and reducing risky trading activity, adding that they would take responsibility if future problems were discovered at the bank. The Barclays’ chief, who agreed to forgo his bonus in response to the series of scandals that have hit Barclays in recent years, said he would resign if another scandal was uncovered while he was leading the bank. “The chief executive is responsible for what happens during their tenure and when incidents happen the price needs to be paid and I believe were I to find myself in that position I would do the right thing,” Mr. Jenkins said on Tuesday. When politicians asked Mr. Jenkins if he was eradicating the culture that he inherited from his predecessor Robert E. Diamond Jr., Barclays’ new chief said he was indeed “shredding that legacy” of sometimes being “too self-centered and too aggressive.” [Dealbook]