Barclays London Office Was Okay Place To Work If You Didn't Mind Occasional Baseball Bat To The Head

Ex-trader alleges that working at Barclays was a lot like having dinner with Al Capone.

Traders like to have fun, and that "fun" can take many crazy forms, but one would like to imagine that the lads over at Barclays London HQ act a little more than Downton Abbey than Stratton Oakmont.


But according to former Barclays employee, and LIBOR rigging defendant, Jonathan Mathew, one would be very, very wrong:

Mathew, who is partially deaf, said on his first day of testimony that he was hit on the back of the head with a 12-inch baseball bat, shouted at and forced to stand on a chair in the trading room to answer a quiz on world capitals by his boss, Peter Johnson.
"It wasn’t particularly hard, it was more designed to humiliate me," the 35-year-old trader said of Johnson. Jurors were told Wednesday that Johnson pleaded guilty to charges of Libor manipulation in October 2014.

Even through the miasma of minimal pain and maximum mortification, Mathew had to wonder where Johnson found a baseball bat in London. We can imagine him crying out "Wouldn't a cricket bat have been more apropos?!" as Johnson cackled maniacally.

But like any bizarrely effective team-building tool, Mathew looks back on Johnson treating his head like a hanging slider as one thing above all; on-the-job training:

Mathew, who joined Barclays as a 19-year-old, said he received no formal training when he moved to the bank’s money markets desk and worked as a Libor submitter with Johnson.
"How did you learn what to do?" asked his lawyer, Bill Clegg.
"From my boss, Peter Johnson," said Mathew, who failed the U.K. regulator’s so-called approved person exam three times. "Him explaining things to me, copying what he was doing, taking notes. On-the-job training."


Ex-Barclays Trader in Libor Case Says His Boss Hit Him With Bat [Bloomberg]


Deferring 'Significant' Amounts Of Compensation, Placing Caps On Bonuses Not Working Out So Well For Barclays

Only in that senior people the bank worked hard to recruit are quitting en masse. Otherwise, it's great. Barclays spent a decade assembling a team of the most successful gas and power traders in Europe. It took less than 16 months to lose most of them. Mercuria Energy Trading SA, based in Geneva, hired five members from the group of about a dozen from March 2011 to June this year, including Phil Sutterby as head of U.K. and European gas and Roger Jones, the former global chief of commodities, according to people with knowledge of the moves. Another six left for companies including UBS, Noble Group Ltd. and Freepoint Commodities LLC. The departures from the U.K.’s second-biggest bank reflect bonus caps, limits on the amount of money traders can risk and shrinking revenue from the division that includes commodities. While hiring from hedge funds and rival lenders helped Barclays catch up with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in commodity derivatives, according to Greenwich Associates, a focus on deferred pay left the bank vulnerable to headhunters. “The significant amount of deferred compensation and the aggressive cap on cash payouts at Barclays has unsettled a number of individuals,” said Peter Henry, New York-based head of front-office research at Commodity Search Partners. “Add to that the fact they have been systematically targeted by privately held trading houses, specifically Mercuria, and it’s fairly understandable why senior traders are leaving.” Bonus Limits Spark Exodus At Barclays Trading Unit [Bloomberg]