Barclays will cut investment bank again if performance doesn't improve

Tue Mar 3, 2015 10:30am EST
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By Steve Slater and Matt Scuffham

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays Plc (BARC.L: Quote) chief Antony Jenkins has threatened more cuts to its underperforming investment bank after a 750 million pounds ($1.2 billion) charge by the British bank provided fresh evidence of the costs of past misdemeanors by its traders.

Barclays last year cut costs, improved its capital strength and shed unwanted assets, which Jenkins said justified his decision to accept his first bonus since taking charge three years ago - helping his pay for last year to more than treble to 5.5 million pounds.

But it continues to be dogged by past conduct problems and lackluster returns in investment banking and Jenkins said on Tuesday he would take a knife once again to the investment bank arm if it does not improve its profitability.

"I'm not a very patient person and every business within the group has to deliver the RoE (return on equity) that we require of it," Jenkins told reporters.

"We won't hesitate to continue to optimize capital allocated to the investment bank, the cost base and revenues to generate those returns."

Barclays took a higher-than-expected 750 million pound charge in the fourth quarter as it prepares to settle allegations its traders manipulated foreign exchange markets.

For the year as a whole it reported an adjusted pretax profit of 5.5 billion pounds, up from a restated 4.9 billion in 2013 and above the average forecast of 5.3 billion.

Including charges, provisions and restructuring costs of 1.2 billion pounds, pretax profit fell 21 percent to 2.3 billion.   Continued...

A man passes automated teller machines at a Barclays bank branch in London August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Neil Hall