Barclays: Have collaboration, will grow
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Barclays: Have collaboration, will grow

After a good result in its core areas, Barclays is setting its sights firmly on a better future for its investment bank in Europe.

Right now is “the most exciting time at Barclays since I’ve been here,” says Reid Marsh, head of banking for Europe, the Middle East and Asia. There is a “commercially aggressive spirit”. The bank is “playing offence”.

And Marsh should know. Since returning from Asia in late 2017 to add Europe to his remit, his areas of responsibility have been where some of the most exciting of those developments have been happening.

Barclays began 2018 with something of a regulatory overhang as chief executive Jes Staley awaited the verdict of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority into his involvement in a whistleblowing case at the bank. But by the end of May that was all over. Fined but not fired, Staley could refocus on the business of running the bank for its first “clean” year after the running-down of its non-core division and the disposal of its Africa business.

So how did that go? The simple answer is pretty well. By the end of the third quarter, pre-tax profits were up 23% excluding conduct and litigation costs. The bank has set return on tangible equity (ROTE) targets of above 9% in 2019 and above 10% in 2020 – its annualized ROTE for the first nine months of 2018 was just above 11%.

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