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Morning Coffee: Fear grips Barclays. The unspoken requirement of bankers in their 20s

Barclays layoffs

Is that a rescuer or an axeman?

How cherished are Barclays investment bankers really? It’s all a bit confusing. When Antony Jenkins left Barclays a few weeks ago, we were told it was because nasty Antony was harbouring plans to irrevocably harm the investment bank and its staff. We were also told that Tom King, the investment banking chief executive, had threatened self-immolation to protect his bankers. And we were led to believe that John McFarlane, Barclays’ self-appointed executive chairman would be ‘unleashing the force that is revenue growth‘ and allowing the investment bank to expand its top line – as long as it didn’t require more capital in the process.

Two weeks’ later, things aren’t so clear cut. In some circles, McFarlane is being accused of megalomaniacal tendencies. – “Because John is such an assertive person, who are they going to get as his chief executive? That is their problem now,” the chairman of a rival bank told the Financial Times. Reuters spoke to ‘insiders’ who claim that Barclays is preparing to go ahead with a plan to cut capital-heavy business areas. And now The Times reports that Barclays is getting ready to cut 30,000 jobs.

If The Times is right, many of those jobs will disappear from the retail bank, where manual processes are to be automated. However, middle and back office jobs at the investment bank could disappear to robots too. With its diminutive 2.7% return on equity in 2014, Barclays’ investment bank is far from unassailable. Among British banks, Barclays appears overdue a massive eradication of staff: Lloyds has cut 37,111 staff since 2009; RBS has cut 89,700; Barclays has cut… 12,000. Time to catch up?

Separately, you may not get hired into a finance, accounting, consulting or law job today unless you are above averagely attractive. After addressing 80 new hires at a Big Four accounting firm, the FT’s Lucy Kellaway reaches the conclusion that, ‘every single one was tolerably easy on the eye.’ Kellaway argues that this applies to most elite professions nowadays: ‘There are plenty of ugly people — but where do they work? Not in the City.’

Meanwhile: 

“I always say no one ever got fired for asking for more. And you manage your boss, not the other way around. (I am going to regret this.)” Mike Sheldon Chief executive officer, Deutsche North America. (Bloomberg) 

The eurozone is going through a war of religion with a northern Europe that’s Calvinist and that doesn’t want to forgive the sinners, and a Catholic Europe in the south that wants to turn the page,” said Emmanuel Macron, the French economy minister and former Rothschild banker. (Financial Times) 

UK banks are going to need a lot of expertise to help them ringfence their retail banking operations. (Guardian) 

The UK banking ringfence might be ‘softened’. (Sunday Times) 

Deutsche denies that Michael Faissola had anything to do with LIBOR rigging. (Reuters) 

Bill Winters is consolidating power at Standard Chartered by making the new divisional heads report directly to him instead of to Mike Rees, former head of the investmetn bank and an ally of ex-CEO Peter Sands. (Bloomberg) 

Ousted FCA chief Martin Wheatley had a habit of taking on a “schoolmasterly” tone when he was speaking to bank bosses, regardless of their history. (Sunday Times)

Ranking the top investors in private equity in 2014. (Pitchbook) 

Technology companies and consulting companies are now the main hirers of MBAs. (MBASEA) 

Signs that your colleague is an empty suit. (Forbes) 

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