Barclays profits more than double

Barclays says its profits more than doubled in the first three months of the year, boosted by better performance across the board.

Pre-tax profit for the first quarter was £1.682bn, up from £793m for the same period last year.

Chief executive Jes Staley said it had been “another quarter of strong progress towards the completion of the restructuring of Barclays”.

He said there was good reason to feel optimistic about the firm’s prospects.

The figure was better than analysts had predicted and comes despite a one-off goodwill impairment charge of £884m on the bank’s stake in Barclays Africa Group, which it intends to sell in the next two to three years.

“On Africa, we await approval for the separation arrangements already agreed with local management, following which we will be able to make further progress towards regulatory deconsolidation,” Mr Staley said.

In early trading, Barclays’ shares were down 3.5%.

Jes Staley said there was plenty of reason to be optimistic about Barclays’ future.

The same can’t be said of his own future.

He has already been seriously reprimanded by his own board and had his pay docked by more than a million pounds for attempting to unmask the identity of a whistleblower who questioned the appointment of a former colleague from JP Morgan.

He is under investigation for the matter by financial regulators, and several big shareholders have privately expressed doubt that he can continue in the glare of an incident that has put Barclays’ senior management culture back in an unwelcome spotlight.

‘Legacy issues’

Mr Staley said Barclays planned to hire about 2,000 new staff in the UK in the next three years, focused on technology.

He told Bloomberg the bank wanted to bring technology development back in house and reduce reliance on external contractors.

He also said it would increase the number of staff based in the EU, following the UK’s Brexit vote.

In its statement, Barclays said that “certain legal proceedings and investigations relating to legacy issues” were still outstanding.

In particular, it said the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) intended to make a decision shortly about “matters relating to our capital raisings in 2008”.

This refers to a long-running SFO investigation into a cash injection received by Barclays from Qatari investors at the height of the financial crisis.

Posted on by CCKeith in Uncategorized

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