Subdued investment banking hits Barclays profits

Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:29am EDT
 
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By Steve Slater and Matt Scuffham

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays Plc (BARC.L: Quote) said its underlying profits fell 8 percent in the second quarter as subdued market activity and the British bank's attempts to crack down on high-risk trading took a toll on investment banking revenue.

Chief Executive Antony Jenkins, under pressure to lift profitability and stamp out wrongdoing, said on Wednesday a challenging operating environment and the legacy of past misconduct continued to dog the bank.

But he said he was ahead of target in cutting costs and hiving off assets that Barclays no longer wants.

Barclays has been in the crosshairs of regulators determined to stamp out the culture of irresponsible risk taking and greed blamed for bringing global finance to its knees in 2008-9.

The bank avoided a state bailout during the crisis by turning to Middle Eastern investors to bolster its capital. It was the first bank to be fined for attempted manipulation of Libor benchmark interest rates.

"We can now see the new Barclays starting to emerge," Jenkins told analysts.

Barclays has stopped most of its physical commodities trading and axed many emerging markets and interest-rate trading products, among other reforms.

It said it had cut 5,000 jobs this year, leaving it with fewer staff than at any time since 2007. It aims to cut a total of 14,000 positions in 2014, including 2,500 in investment banking.   Continued...

 
A Barclays sign hangs outside a branch of the bank in the City of London July 30, 2014.  Barclays Plc said its underlying profits fell 8 percent in the second quarter as the British bank's attempts to crack down on high-risk trading and subdued market activity took a toll on investment banking revenue.    REUTERS/Toby Melville