Is there suddenly a 'new morality' on Wall Street ? There is, if you believe Antony Jenkins, the chief executive officer of Barclays.
Bloomberg contributor William D. Cohan writes that it’s tempting to trust this sweet-talking British banking executive, still in the flush of his new appointment to run the scandal-ridden institution.
He is understandably anxious to distance himself and his bank from the atrocious behavior rampant at Barclays during the absolute monarchy of his predecessor, Robert Diamond.
On February 12th, Jenkins announced a $1.3bn fourth-quarter loss (replete with the requisite mention of 'one-time' losses that have become a staple of bank earnings these days) and 'a major reorganization' that would cut 3,700 jobs, including 1,800 employees in the bank’s Asian and non-British European investment-banking units.
Yet he had more on his mind than balance sheets and head counts. 'There will be no going back to the old way of doing things', Jenkins said. 'We will never be in a position again of rewarding people for activities inconsistent with our values. . . . The old ways weren’t the right way to behave, nor did they deliver the right results'. He then mentioned one of my favorite credos: 'Individuals must take responsibility for their own behavior'.
The source of Jenkins’s religious conversion is not clear. It’s not like he parachuted into Barclays from a Tibetan monastery to enlighten the masses. He has been at Barclays since 1983 (with a period away at Citigroup Inc.) and in 2009 became a member of the bank’s executive committee and CEO of its retail and business banking division.
Hit the link below to access the complete Bloomberg article:
Cohan is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and writes frequently for Financial Times, Fortune, The Atlantic and The Washington Post. He worked on Wall Street as a senior mergers and acquisitions banker for 15 years. He also worked for two years at G.E. Capital.
Cohan is a graduate of Duke University, Columbia University School of Journalism and Columbia University Graduate School of Business. The Last Tycoons won the 2007 Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.
image: © Kevin Tsai