Brexit has been cruel to everyone who owns stock in a British bank, but to no one nowhere has it been more cruel than to the ex-Lehman Brothers bankers working for Barclays in the U.S.
Since the result to the UK’s referendum was announced last Friday, Barclays’ stock has fallen 26%. Over the same period, the pound has fallen by 9% against the dollar. Barclays bankers on Wall Street have therefore seen their deferred bonuses plunge by more than a third.
It might not be so bad, were it not for the fact that Barclays holds its managing directors on Wall Street (and everywhere) to some incredibly punitive deferrals: since 2013, 100% of bonuses for Barclays MDs have been withheld. They vest over the three years subsequent to the year in which they were awarded.
It’s particularly harsh given that some of Barclays’ most senior people in the US were already wiped out once when Lehman Brothers went under. Speaking off the record, the head of one international search firm on Wall Street says people there aren’t happy: “They don’t like the way this has turned out, but they have nowhere else to go. Few people are hiring now.”
Brad Hintz, the former Lehman Brothers CFO who spent 14 years as a financial analyst, says the ex-Lehmanites will come through this as they’ve come through everything else. “The Lehman Brothers survivors at Barclays are a tough old crew at this time,” he tells us. “They’ve been in the front lines a war of attrition between the global capital markets banks since the sale to Barclays and have seen unending regulatory, strategic and management changes.”
Having seen their personal wealth hammered twice, Hintz says the Lehman veterans have perspective: “As seasoned bankers and traders, they undoubtedly know that the UK existed before the EU, that the British public’s love hate relationship with the Continent dates back to Disraeli, that the Bank England has guided the country through much worse crises than a two year negotiated exit from Europe and that Barclays will survive.
“This is just another chapter is the sad story of Barclays and its Lehman Brothers staff,” he concludes, sadly.