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Late Lunchtime Links: A bad thought – will Barclays now move its investment bank to the US to be run by Skip McGee?

The new Bob

The new Bob

Financial News raises a disturbingly plausible possibility today: Barclays could shift its investment bank to the US.

The migratory option is raised by an unnamed banking analyst, who says it makes eminent sense.”Here is a name to look out for: Skip McGee [head of BarCap’s global investment banking division],” he tells Financial News, adding: “If you read all the books about the takeover of Lehman and what has happened subsequently, Skip has become more and more prominent. What I think is going to happen is someone like Skip is going to be sitting there, and thinking: ‘This is all bullsh*t, and we need to deal with it’, and there will be a pressure there to shift the investment bank to New York.”

Although Barclays Capital is strongest in the UK, it has gained a lot of ground in the US since the Lehman acquisition and was deemed the best investment bank in the US by Euromoney. Last October, Barclays said it was especially proud of its business in the US, which has done well. It’s the leader in the US for block trading, the leader in covered bonds, and in fourth place for M&A.

An outbreak of assertiveness from Barclays’ US investment bankers sounds all the plausible following John Carney’s CNBCarticle earlier this week on ex-Lehman bankers’ annoyance with Bob Diamond. “It was ridiculous that he thought he could stay on after the Libor scandal,” one said. “It made us look like crooks and fools.” “We were like, ‘What world is he living in?'” said another. “How could he not see the writing on the wall?”

Barclays’ US bankers were purportedly planning a coup against Bob, but were constrained by fears that it might be seen as an ex-Lehmanite plot. Their machinations became unnecessary once Bob stepped down. However, if Barclays adopts a UK-led strategy which ex-Lehman bankers disagree with, the insurgency could return. A shift to the US would also make sense from a pay and regulatory perspective, another banking analyst notes.

Meanwhile:

Why Barclays Capital would struggle to survive on its own. (Breaking Views) 

Barclays acquired a reputation during the global financial crisis for creative accounting and a willingness to stretch regulatory rules to present its balance sheet in the most flattering light. (Wall Street Journal) 

Rob Diamond (Bob’s son) works at Deutsche Bank too. (Evening Standard)

Britain lives off London, and London lives off foreigners. (Economist)

An average 35.3% of Londoners were born overseas vs. 11.3% in the country as a whole. (Economist) 

17% of the UK’s total GDP comes from London. This is roughly equal to the GDP of Sweden, Belgium, or Russia. (London Business School) 

Women who went through Bank of America’s returning mother’s programme have experienced a “radical transformation” in their aspirations, says the woman who organised the programme.(HR Magazine) 

Quant hedge funds may no longer be hot places to work. This includes Winton. (Bloomberg) 

What Bill Gates is reading this summer. (Farnam Street) 

People will low levels of self confidence are more successful. (HBR) 

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