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Can Barclays Capital become Goldman Sachs?

Barclays Capital may not be the new Goldman Sachs just yet, but it would like to be one day soon. In a presentation yesterday, it unveiled its new purpose in life: to, “Be the premier global investment bank.”

As Alphaville points out, BarCap’s swelling confidence follows a Bob Diamond love-in in the British press. Last Saturday, The Times identified it as one of a “super league” of banks which has done well out of the crisis. And the Financial Times sugested that in the absence of Barclays Global Investors, Barclays Capital will be more important to the group; it’s expected to generate as much as 60% of Barclays’ revenues in future.

However, BarCap has quite a long way to go before it starts rattling Goldman’s cage. Its US equities and investment banking revenues rose 5 and 9.2 times respectively between the Q108 and Q109, but as the graph below from Credit Suisse shows, it’s starting from a very low base.

BarCap  revenues

Source: Credit Suisse

BarCap intends to remedy this by hiring lots of people. As noted last month, it’s already hired 450 people into its Asian and European cash equities business and wants to ingest another 300. According to yesterday’s presentation it will be recruiting ‘A players’ and subjecting them to a ‘rigorous hiring process’ (rumoured to include a jerk screening policy).

BarCap may well succeed. Its share price is up around 88% this year, more than any other bank. But it’s also worth bearing in mind that it’s been hiring avidly for a while and that, outside sales and trading, doesn’t have much to show for it. Dealogic data provided to Credit Suisse shows BarCap’s share of ECM/DCM, M&A and loans revenues fell from 5.1 to 3.9% between 2004 and YTD 2009.

Comments (21)

  1. “Can Barclays Capital become Goldman Sachs?”……

    I know this is going to be the next punchline……

    let the floodgates open….

  2. Sure. I heard from Bob that it would happen next month.

  3. Is Goldman Sachs the new Barclays Capital?

  4. i never saw the no-jerk stuff but just read it
    that interview process sounds no tougher than anywhere else to tell the truth

  5. can of worms = opened!

  6. I’ve worked at Barcap for 2.5 years out of the last 4, and can tell you it’s going backwards, not forwards.

  7. This site is becoming a parody of itself. Well done Sarah – your unique postmodernist sense of humour is to be applauded. I think Sarah may be the new Goldman Sachs…wonderful stuff….

  8. James – what planet are you on? Barclays is clearly doing well – anyone with half a brain knows that.

  9. OK, these jokes are becoming boringly infectious or infectiously boring. Either way, Goldman Sachs will always be Goldman Sachs, and Barclays will always be Barclays. Goldman Sachs would take great satisfaction from the fact that they are recognised as an benchmark organisation within the financial sector, and indeed others strive to emulate their successes, but the level of sychopancy is blinding. There is nothing stopping Barclays from forging their own unique and legendary path to success.

  10. “Barclays Capital may not be the new Goldman Sachs just yet, but it would like to be one day soon.”
    You think? I bet RBC and Natixis would like to be GS one day, as well

  11. @johnrobert – they probably would, but they haven’t declared their intention to be, ‘The premier global investment bank.’

    And @Niv – not sure if you mean I’m being sycophantic. If I am, it’s not intentional.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
  12. How dare I refer to you as a sychophant? I wouldn’t dream of it! All the same, would be nice if one’s positive attributes were seen as original, and not a mere imitation of another’s. My point is “Can Barclays Capital become Goldman Sachs?” could have been “BarCap strives to be the benchmark in Investment Banking”

  13. @Niv – ok, maybe it is sycophantic to use Goldman as a synonym for ‘the very best investment bank in the world.’ I have taken this onboard and will try very hard to avoid it in future.

    Sarah, Editor. eFinancialCareers Reply
  14. Sarah,

    I get the distinct feeling, you are really enjoying this ” Is X the new Goldman Sachs?”

    Otherwise why would you allow those type of comments to be published again and again and again….?

    If you are, just come and say so.

  15. Barcap are yrs behind GS on how to view risk.
    The best decision ever made by Barclays board was to sell BZW in the 90’s therefore not exposed to all the dotcom/equities malaise/reduced commisions and volatile M&A earnings and ride the wave of FI,FX Comm’s growth since.
    Not Bob’s decison but good luck to him.

  16. Is Sarah Butcher the new Goldman Sachs?………..No…….. ah well…… just thought i’d ask the question anyway.

  17. is Madame Butcher the new Sarah Butcher?

  18. Is Stockholm the Venice of the North?
    You all sound like that …
    Very deep and thought provoking indeed …

  19. Is Lehman Brothers the new Goldman Sachs??

  20. Sarah does not like the Goldman Sachs joke, however, Madame Butcher very much enjoys it.

  21. Rbs wants to be the next Barclays

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