Third time lucky: can Barclays finally crack ECM in Europe?
Barclays has long wanted to rebuild the European ECM franchise it got rid of in 1997 with the sale of BZW, but has often struggled to do so. With a foundation of corporate broking in the UK and hiring in continental Europe, it’s finally making some progress.
If any business reflects the ups and downs of Barclays’ approach to investment banking over the years, it is probably European equity capital markets. It was back in 1997, in the era of chief executive Martin Taylor, that Barclays dumped its venerable BZW equities and corporate finance franchise through a sale to Credit Suisse First Boston for a mere £100 million. It was a move that came to epitomize how Barclays was giving up its ambitions to be a global full-service investment bank.
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Like a persistent radioactive isotope, bitterness has a long half-life in banking and that decision still rankles.