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Is Barclays’ I-Banking Strategy Crazy?

Nearly every investment bank on the planet is cutting costs and slashing headcount. As too is Barclays, a firm embroiled in more scandals than Lindsay Lohan.

Conventional wisdom says Barclays is doing the right thing. New regulations demand that banks take fewer risks and hold more capital, and the predominant thinking on Wall Street is that investment banking divisions are ripe for cuts.

Barclays is falling right in line, cutting its global investment banking headcount by roughly 10%, with workforce reductions primarily in Asia but also in its healthier U.S. and U.K. divisions. Prudent, right? Not according to analysts at Bernstein Research, who believe Barclays should be pouring additional resources into its investment banking business, not pulling them out, according to Financial News.

The thinking is simple: Barclays’ strength is its advisory business, particularly in the Americas group, where the division is responsible for roughly two-thirds of the M&A fees generated by the bank during the first three quarters of 2012. Globally, Barclays’ M&A business grew 17% during that time, while J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch each saw drops of roughly 30%. And unlike other banks like Goldman Sachs, Barclays isn’t well diversified.

Bernstein suggests that it was a combination of management changes, public relations concerns and political pressures that forced Barclays to take a knife to its i-banking business, rather than it simply being a sound strategy. The cuts leave the bank “naked in areas of high growth.”

In short: Bernstein wants Barclays to bet on the horse that got them to the race. An interesting thought at the very least.

Whale Warned (WSJ)

The “London whale,” the man largely responsible for J.P. Morgan’s more than $6 billion trading loss, attempted to alert other employees of his “scary” sized bets months before they morphed into massive losses.

The Glass is Half… (NY Times)

The economy added fewer jobs in January than expected, but the news isn’t all bad. The U.S. Labor Department on Friday published its revised figures for 2012, reporting that employers added 335,000 more workers last year than had initially been estimated.

Zero Bonus (WSJ)

Four top executives at the National Futures Association (NFA) will not receive bonuses this year, although they will keep their jobs. Holes in the agency were exposed following the downfall of Peregrine Financial Group, the firm that bilked investors out of $215 million while under the NFA’s watch.

Hottest Job Sectors (eFinancialCareers)

Using data from eFinancialCareers and information from recruiters on hot hiring areas, we’ve identified where the finance talent shortages are now.

A Year in the Clink (NY Post)

Roomy Khan, a former Intel who helped prosecutors convict hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam of insider trading, was sentenced to one year in prison for her own role in the scheme. She also lied to investigators during her initial cooperation.

Taking the Buck (Reuters)

Bonuses at Barclays haven’t been decided yet, except for that of one man. Chief Executive Officer Antony Jenkins said that he will give up his entire bonus for 2012. He made the announcement right after news broke that the bank is being investigated for its dealings with Qatar.

Buzz Around the Office

The Living Dead (MSN)

A funeral in China quickly morphed into a celebration after the 101-year-old “dead” woman popped out of her coffin… a full day after she was declared dead.

List of the Day: Dead-End Jobs

Being stuck in a dead-end job doesn’t mean you can’t learn anything. Here’s what you should be doing at work while looking for your ideal career.

  1. Work on your people skills.
  2. Take up tasks that help build your skillset, like running your company’s social media account.
  3. Discover what you don’t want to do in your career.

(Source: The Daily Muse)

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor
  • So
    4 February 2013

    There's a Strategy ?

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