Aug 23, 2019

Jes Staley: the last man in European investment banking

Following Deutsche Bank's dramatic retreat, there is now just one European investment bank that hopes to remain a global force: Barclays. In an interview at the company's London headquarters, Mr Staley told the Financial Times he remained confident Barclays' investment bank would prevail, arguing that clients want to give a chunk of their business to a group that is based outside the US. In the near term, Mr Staley said Barclays could benefit from Deutsche's exit from equities trading in Europe, a business where few banks turn a profit. Although Mr Staley can point to successes in ECM, such as the bank's role as a lead book runner on the recent flotation of Change Healthcare on Nasdaq, Mr Staley said Barclays needs to lead more IPOs. Whether Mr Staley can settle the doubts hinges on whether he can improve poor returns at the bank's corporate and investment bank, which he must if he is to hit Barclays' overall profitability target: a return on tangible equity of more than 9 per cent this year and 10 per cent in 2020. Mr Staley recently increased his control of the investment bank following the ousting of Tim Throsby, a freewheeling trader who sparred with other executives over whether the bank's profitability targets were achievable.

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