Apr 7, 2017
Trip to Barclays archives shows value analysts can bring
In reviving his City career, Pierce has taken the idea of research to a new level of dedication: he's just spent three months shuttling between London and Manchester so as to visit the Barclays Archives at Wythenshawe, where he was able to go back through more than a century of annual reports and internal documents from Barclays PLC. Yes, Pierce sat himself down and went through 100 sets of the bank's numbers, dating back to 1916. With the last decade marked by a regulatory clampdown, and the preceding 20 years defined by excess leverage and risk, and the 20 years before that characterised by high inflation in Britain and economic crisis, there's no easy "Mean" figure to fall back on when assessing what sort of return a shareholder in a bank like Barclays might rightly expect for their investment. Up until 1969, Barclays, like all British banks, was able to use "Inner" or hidden reserves to smooth their annual results. For whatever reason, Barclays had wanted to keep its outperformance secret. The good news from Pierce is that at current share price levels, that makes Barclays a long-term "Buy".
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