Do you want to work for a bank where the investment banking employees are key profit generators and should (in theory) command the respect of senior management? Try Barclays. Or not.
As the chart below, based upon full year profits across banks for 2013, shows, Barclays remains extremely reliant upon its investment bank. In full year 2013, the unit formerly known as Barclays Capital generated nearly 90% of profits across the bank. This is a lot, and considerably more than at rival European and US firms.
Source: Company annual reports. Profit figures are for Barclays Investment Bank, UBS Investment Bank, Credit Suisse Investment Bank, Bank of America Global Banking and Global Marrkets, Citi Securities and Banking and RBS Markets. RBS total figure is pre-impairment losses at the bank for 2013.
Needless to say, Barclays’ investment bankers aren’t all powerful and respected within the firm. Instead, they have been at the centre of a storm over excessive pay and are potentially facing thousands of redundancies when Barclays announces a new strategy for its investment bank on May 8th. If you work at Barclays, it all seems a little unfair. RBS investment bankers know what it feels like. As recently as 2009, they accounted for 82% of profits across RBS. Following the deliberate dismantling of much of RBS’s investment bank, that fell to 20% in 2013 and it may yet fall further still.