Could Barclays Move its Investment Bank to the U.S.?

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It has already been hailed as the "Best Investment Bank in the U.S." by Euromoney. Now comes word from the UK that an unnamed banking analyst has sparked talk about the feasibility of Barclays moving its investment banking headquarters from London to the U.S.

According to Financial News, this possible option was raised by an unnamed banking analyst, who says it makes eminent sense. The analyst is also quoted as saying one "name to look out for" is Skip McGee, head of BarCap's global investment banking division. He adds that if you "read all the books about the takeover of Lehman and what has happened subsequently, Skip has become more and more prominent. What I think is going to happen is someone like Skip is going to be sitting there, and thinking: ‘This is all ...., and we need to deal with it,’ and there will be a pressure there to shift the investment bank to New York.”

Although Barclays Capital is strongest in the UK, it has gained a lot of ground in the U.S. since the Lehman acquisition and was deemed the best investment bank in the U.S. by Euromoney.

Last October, Barclays said it was especially proud of its business in the U.S., which has done well. It’s the leader in the U.S. for block trading, the leader in covered bonds and in fourth place for M&A.

An outbreak of assertiveness from Barclays’ U.S. investment bankers sounds all the plausible following John Carney’s CNBC story earlier this week on ex-Lehman bankers’ annoyance with Bob Diamond. ”It was ridiculous that he thought he could stay on after the Libor scandal,” one said. “It made us look like crooks and fools.” ”We were like, ‘What world is he living in?’” said another. “How could he not see the writing on the wall?”

Barclays’ U.S. bankers were purportedly planning a coup against Bob, but were constrained by fears that it might be seen as an ex-Lehmanite plot. Their machinations became unnecessary once Bob stepped down. However, if Barclays adopts a UK-led strategy which ex-Lehman bankers disagree with, the insurgency could return. A shift to the U.S. would also make sense from a pay and regulatory perspective, another banking analyst notes.

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