Barclays profits more than double


Barclays says its profits more than doubled in the first three months of the year, boosted by better performance across the board.

Pre-tax profit for the first quarter was £1.682bn, up from £793m for the same period last year.

Chief executive Jes Staley said it had been “another quarter of strong progress towards the completion of the restructuring of Barclays”.

He said there was good reason to feel optimistic about the firm’s prospects.

The figure was better than analysts had predicted and comes despite a one-off goodwill impairment charge of £884m on the bank’s stake in Barclays Africa Group, which it intends to sell in the next two to three years.

“On Africa, we await approval for the separation arrangements already agreed with local management, following which we will be able to make further progress towards regulatory deconsolidation,” Mr Staley said.

In early trading, Barclays’ shares were down 3.5%.

Getting rid of Barclays chief executive Jes Staley would be bad for Barclays and bad for UK banking.

That’s the view of some current and former shareholders who tell me that not only would Barclays suffer if the US boss was pushed out during his so-far successful turnaround of the 360-year-old bank but also, weakening the UK’s last major investment bank would be bad for the entire UK financial landscape.

Jes Staley is under investigation by authorities for twice trying to identify the author of a letter raising questions about Staley’s decision to recruit an old colleague from his JP Morgan days who had been through personal issues that had led to “erratic behaviour”.

One city source told me: “Replacing Jes Staley with another FCA-approved (the regulator) apparatchik would be a disaster.”

‘Legacy issues’

Mr Staley said Barclays planned to hire about 2,000 new staff in the UK in the next three years, focused on technology.

He told Bloomberg the bank wanted to bring technology development back in house and reduce reliance on external contractors.

He also said it would increase the number of staff based in the EU, following the UK’s Brexit vote.

In its statement, Barclays said that “certain legal proceedings and investigations relating to legacy issues” were still outstanding.

In particular, it said the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) intended to make a decision shortly about “matters relating to our capital raisings in 2008”.

This refers to a long-running SFO investigation into a cash injection received by Barclays from Qatari investors at the height of the financial crisis.

Source: BBC

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