The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Barclays: Bramson’s Sherborne defeat does not mean banks are safe from activists

Other funds have shown how shareholder activism can work in financial stocks, especially in Europe.

Photo: Reuters

Sherborne Investors’ sale of its 6% stake in Barclays has been a long time coming. Indeed, Edward Bramson’s presence as a shareholder ceased being a concern for the bank’s management and board some time ago.

But it would be wrong to say that the limited success of Bramson’s campaign to overhaul Barclays is proof that banks are immune from activist campaigns.

In fact, during the three years that Bramson was invested in Barclays, the financial sector – including some banks – has become a more common target for activists in Europe, and for good reason.

Valuations are even lower than in 2018. It is even more urgent for banks to refocus on their strongest businesses.

Bramson, it should be noted, is by no means a mainstream activist. That made it harder to strike fear into Barclays and harder for him to gain credibility among investors and other stakeholders.

Bramson’s thesis was either ill-judged or badly timed

Sherborne Investors, which Bramson manages alongside fellow partner and research director Stephen Welker, is far smaller than other US activists such as Third Point, ValueAct and especially Elliott Management.


You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree