Apr 8, 2019

Barclays is aware investors may deem Bramson a jolly good fellow

Does Edward Bramson - the activist investor seeking a seat on Barclays' board - have any self-awareness? At all? Monday's letter from his Sherborne firm to Barclays investors suggests not a great deal. One person close to Barclays said the rest of his letter - which calls for a reduction in investment banking activity to avoid a capital raising - was "Littered with misunderstandings and errors". Does Mr Bramson need to be aware of his own limitations? Or does he merely need to show an awareness of "Fellow" investors' concerns? If the latter, he may succeed. Why else did Mr Higgins make chief executive Jes Staley take control of the investment banking division two weeks ago - ousting its boss Tim Throsby - after talking to several shareholders? Analysts say these changes, which Mr Bramson calls "Sudden management realignments and departures" - something that he does know all about - acknowledge the need for more control of cost and capital allocation. Otherwise shareholders, and even sniffy banking regulators, may yet decide that Mr Bramson is a jolly good "Fellow", after all.

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