Barclays Just Wants You to Love It Again, OK?

Please?
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Please?

After spending his first six months on the job speaking about cultural change at scandal-plagued Barclays PLC, Chief Executive Officer Antony Jenkins on Tuesday will unveil a plan that is expected to leave the bank's strategy largely intact, according to people briefed on the matter.

But wait! Barclays can change in all the ways that it thinks matter to you and the British government, if not to its shareholders.

Other changes are driven more by polishing the bank's tarnished image than they are by the need to boost profits. A few business lines that don't seem "socially useful" are likely to end up on the chopping block, executives say.

For example, Barclays plans to retreat at least in part from the lucrative trading of "soft commodities" such as coffee, executives say. That is a concession to mounting criticism that speculative trading in those commodities contributes to food-price inflation. "We're a big player, but does it pass the smell test of what society would think of this?" a senior executive said.

Mr. Jenkins is also expected to trumpet plans to dramatically scale back Barclays's tax-planning business, in which it advises clients on how to minimize their tax burdens. The bank will no longer help clients put together transactions that have no business purpose other than reducing taxes.

"Such activity is incompatible with our purpose," Mr. Jenkins will say on Tuesday, according to the extract of his speech.

Alas, it must be said that Mr. Jenkins seems to have learned a funny definition of the word “incompatible” at Oxford.

But the bank isn't expected to exit the business altogether. It will continue to offer tax-minimizing advice. People familiar with the matter say the business has been hiring employees recently.

Makeover at Barclays Won’t Be Extreme (and why ever would it?) [WSJ]

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Layoffs Watch '12: Barclays

Cuts are said to have gone down with more a-comin'. Barclays PLC is cutting about 50 employees from its equities business, the latest effort by the British bank to reduce costs at its investment-banking arm. A week ago, the U.K. lender announced internally that about 10% of the jobs at its equities business across Europe, Africa and the Middle East would be lost, a person familiar with the matter said Friday. During the first half of the year, Barclays's equities and prime services business, which employs about 500 people, saw revenue fall 12% on the year to £973 million ($1.57 billion). The business has suffered as market volumes have dried up in recent quarters...The work-force reduction could be a taste of things to come for Barclays's investment bank. At the beginning of 2009, former Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond hired more than 400 bankers, mainly in equities and research, as part of a drive to turn the predominately debt-focused bank into a multi-asset powerhouse. Following Mr. Diamond's departure in the wake of a rate-fixing probe, new CEO Antony Jenkins has started a review of the bank's businesses to assess their profitability and whether and how they affect the lender's reputation. This, combined with tougher regulatory requirements, is expected to result in Barclays shrinking its investment bank, analysts say. Barclays To Cut 50 Equities Jobs [WSJ]