Morning Coffee Aug 31 2012

Barclays I-Banking Fate Unclear Under New Chief Jenkins

By Beecher Tuttle

Seeking to repair its damaged image, Barclays on Thursday appointed Antony Jenkins, the head of its retail and business banking division, as chief executive. Jenkins, a Brit, replaces disgraced CEO Bob Diamond, an American banker who fell on his sword in June during the fallout from the Libor rate-fixing scandal.

The appointment of Jenkins suggests that Barclays may be considering a dramatic change in strategy. Under Diamond, Barclays scaled its highly profitable, yet risky investment banking business, a sector in which Jenkins has no experience.

Jenkins reiterated Barclays' commitment to its universal-banking model, and said that Rich Ricci, the head of the firm's investment bank groomed under Diamond, would remain in his role, according to The Wall Street Journal. But it's fair to question whether Jenkins' appointment will coincide with Barclays returning its focus to the safer world of retail banking, a move that would most likely appease U.K. regulators. Many believe Barclays' i-banking focus heavily contributed to its lax regulatory culture.

While investment banking head count has plummeted over the last year, Barclays has been relatively immune to economic pressures, despite the rate fixing scandal and a separate criminal investigation into payments made between Barclays and Qatar Holding.

I-Banking head count at the world's largest banks fell nearly 6% from June 2011 through June 2012. Barclays, meanwhile, lost just 1.3% of its investment banking staff during the period, dropping from roughly 23,600 to 23,300, according Financial News.

One thing we know for sure: Barclays will undoubtedly dial back bonuses and gaudy executive salaries with Jenkins and incoming chairman David Walker, a former U.K. treasury official, at the helm.

Readers: We're taking a small hiatus to give Morning Coffee a fresh look. We'll resume distribution on September 17th, brought to you by eFinancialCareers. In the meantime, check out a few of our greatest hits.

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