Barclays’ axe set to fall on 1,000 more jobs in investment bank

Jes Staley, Barclays’ chief executive

The cuts, which could be announced as early as Thursday, will be presented as an extension of the strategy announced by the previous chief executive, Antony Jenkins, in 2014, when he promised to cut 7,000 jobs in the investment bank over three years.

Barclays plans to exit investment banking operations across much of Asia, continental Europe and Latin America as it focuses on its core US and UK markets, according to people familiar with the matter. The bank declined to comment.

The move mirrors cutbacks at several European rivals, such asDeutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland, and reflects tough market conditions for all investment banks as they grapple with stiffer regulations and a decline in fixed income trading.

Mr Staley, who joined Barclays at the start of December, is expected to outline his broader strategy when the bank reports annual results on March 1. He is reviewing whether to keep the lender’s large African operations.

Barclays is this week expected to announce a retreat from large parts of its Asian operations, including the likely closure of its cash equities desk and other trading operations in India, Taiwan and South Korea, said people familiar with the matter.

The bank is likely to keep some trading operations in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, which are considered necessary to service its large institutional and corporate clients based in the US and UK.

Some investors and politicians interpreted the veteran American financier’s arrival as a sign that Barclays was preparing a bullish strategic shift to rebuild its investment bank after several years of trimming it back.

However, before taking charge the 59-year-old backed the plan that was already being drawn up to refocus Barclays’ trading operations on its core US and UK markets. He aims to cut about 10-20 per cent of costs in the investment bank, including shutting much of its operations in places such as Italy, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Spain.

Mr Jenkins, who was fired after three years as chief executive in July, took two shots at restructuring the investment bank, promising to cut a quarter of the unit’s 28,000 jobs and shrink its share of group capital from half to a third.

The latest job losses are expected to be on top of the 7,000 announced in 2014. Barclays investment bank had 20,500 staff at the end of 2014.

John McFarlane, chairman of Barclays, gave a strong hint that more reductions were being planned last year when he said: “We don’t want to be a 100-country investment bank,” adding that the lender’s Asian operation “is not performing and we don’t like things that actually don’t make money”.