Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins’s pledges to shred the legacy of his predecessor and fix the lender’s culture are distracting from the difficulty he has in reviving profit at Britain’s biggest investment bank.
Bloomberg reports that Jenkins, who took over after Bob Diamond departed in the wake of the bank’s fine for rigging Libor, is set to reveal the conclusions of his six-month review of the firm’s operations at London’s Royal Horticultural Halls on February 12th.
While he may cut about 2,000 jobs, pledge to reform culture and reduce pay to boost returns, Jenkins is unlikely to follow UBS AG and eliminate entire business lines, according to investors and analysts.
That’s because the securities unit that Diamond built out of the remains of Barclays De Zoete Wedd over the 15 years from 1996 still contributes about half of the lender’s profit. Still, return on equity at the unit, a measure of profitability, has shrunk by 23% in the past two years as regulators force lenders to hoard more capital. U.K. regulators are also planning to force the country’s lenders to erect firebreaks separating their consumer and investment banks, a plan that may increase the securities unit’s cost of funding, according to analysts.
'It’s going to be a promise deferred', said Julian Chillingworth, who manages $26.6bn at Rathbone Brothers in London. 'There’s a lot of moving parts, and he doesn’t have much control over a lot of them'.
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