Dark pool probe builds pressure on Barclays boss

Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:33am EDT
 
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By Steve Slater

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L: Quote) boss Antony Jenkins faces one of the biggest tests of his leadership this month when he decides whether the bank, Britain’s third largest, should fight accusations it deceived and defrauded customers in the United States.

If Jenkins accepts the allegations, made in a lawsuit filed by New York’s Attorney General, he will face a dilemma arising from his pledge to jettison any business that does not fit into the bank’s new, squeaky-clean image.

But the U.S. trading desk at the center of the allegations is part of Barclays’ equities business, an area it had planned to keep largely intact while shrinking its investment bank.

It comes at a time of mounting discontent among investors. Some say that after almost two years in the CEO hotseat Jenkins is failing to turn around both culture and performance.

Barclays' shares are down around 9 percent, close to two-year lows, since the lawsuit was filed, compared with a 3.5 percent fall in European bank stocks in the same period. They have also underperformed their European peers since Jenkins was appointed in 2012.

"We are concerned about some of the revenue and cost trends and the pace of management implementation," said Colin McLean, managing director of SVM Asset Management, which owns Barclays stock. "There's a gap between the promises and the actual delivery, particularly on costs and bonuses," he said.

RISKY BUSINESS   Continued...

 
Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins poses for the media in London February 12, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth