In recent private meetings with analysts and investors, Barclays' new finance chief, Tushar Morzaria, surprised attendees with a frank admission, according to participants: The bank doesn't have a credible plan for what to do with its sprawling investment bank.
The Wall Street Journal reports that it is a stark acknowledgment, given that Barclays executives have repeatedly argued that the bank can make money with its biggest division, without making major changes to it.
Six months into his job as chief financial officer, that kind of candor is making the Uganda-born Morzaria, 45 years old, perhaps the highest-profile newcomer to London's top banking ranks. It also highlights the challenge the former accountant faces in convincing a skeptical investment community that Barclays is on the right track.
Barclays has endured a tough two years. Its top executives were forced out amid a 2012 interest-rate-rigging scandal. The bank has been blindsided by regulatory demands for more capital, forcing it last year to go hat in hand to shareholders. Many investors say they don't understand the bank's strategy. Its shares are down 15% this year, more than peers' stocks.
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