New Barclays boss weighs investment bank's future

Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:54am EDT
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By Steve Slater and Sinead Cruise

LONDON (Reuters) - The future of Barclays' (BARC.L: Quote) investment bank is the most pressing issue for new chief executive Antony Jenkins to address when he speaks to investors and his own investment bankers on Monday.

Jenkins, appointed 11 days ago to restore the reputation of Britain's fourth-largest bank after a series of scandals, is expected to curb the riskier investment banking business built by his predecessor as he reforms a culture regulators have criticized as too aggressive.

"The key issue is what to do with the investment bank," Shore Capital analyst Gary Greenwood said.

"I would expect to see a gradual de-emphasis of the investment bank and a reallocation of capital elsewhere."

Greenwood said he expects Jenkins to cut costs and shrink the amount of capital consumed by the investment bank, which generates more than half of Barclays' total profit.

Also high on Jenkins's to-do list is how far to overhaul the senior management team at the bank, which was rocked by a record fine of more than $450 million in June for rigging interest rates and is being investigated over a fundraising.

The rate-rigging probe unearthed long-standing concerns by Britain's financial regulator about the culture under former CEO Bob Diamond and Chairman Marcus Agius, who both resigned as a result of the scandal.

Chris Lucas, finance director since 2007, is most under pressure after the regulator's criticism. He was also named as one of four people being investigated by the regulator over a fundraising from Qatari investors four years ago.   Continued...

The chief executive of Barclays global retail banking, Antony Jenkins, is seen in this undated handout photograph released in London August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Barclays/Handout