Barclays shakes up investment bank in tough market

Thu Oct 4, 2012 1:02pm EDT
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By Steve Slater

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L: Quote) announced a shake up at its investment bank on Thursday as the group tries to cut costs in a tough market and reduce risks to its reputation following the Libor scandal.

Rich Ricci, head of corporate and investment banking, said he needs to take action to prepare for more difficult times, while regulatory change and clients' demands mean a greater degree of regional leadership and coordination is needed.

"We have taken market share through the turbulence of recent times, but with markets remaining challenging we must continue to control our own destiny," Ricci said in a memo to staff seen by Reuters.

He will merge trading and distribution teams across fixed income, commodities and currencies (FICC) and equities into a new Markets business, which will be led by Eric Bommensath, who was previously head of FICC globally and trading in Europe.

Ricci has been reviewing the management structure since becoming sole head of the business in June, after co-head Jerry del Missier moved to become chief operating officer.

Top banks on Wall Street and in the City of London are stepping up efforts to cut costs and streamline operations as it becomes clear that a slump in trading activity in the last 18 months could continue as the euro zone crisis drags on, leaving banks overstaffed and unprofitable in many areas.

Barclays Chief Executive Antony Jenkins, who took over in July after previous boss Bob Diamond stepped down following the Libor interest rate rigging scandal, is expected to pare back parts of the investment bank. Diamond spent more than a decade building up the investment bank.

Jenkins has also said he will stop activities that pose "reputational risk" for the bank, and Ricci said last month that this could include parts of its tax advisory practices.   Continued...

A woman exits the subway outside the new Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York September 21, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid