Beware the back office at Barclays (and maybe also at RBS)

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Bankers at both Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland are living under clouds cooked up by their senior managers. In February 2014, the chief executives of both banks are due to make presentations on their plans for the future. Neither presentation is expected to be especially favourable for their investment bankers.

Strategic uncertainty isn't the only reason to avoid British investment banks now, however. We also understand that both Barclays and RBS have put a stop to their people moving out of middle/back office banking jobs into more exciting front-office roles. At both banks, talented risk managers or trading assistants who want to become traders are allegedly unable to do so.

Barclays declined to comment on the allegations and RBS didn't respond to our query on the subject. However, one Barclays insider confirmed that the bar on middle-to-front office moves exists and said it's part of the bank's strengthened internal controls.

The rules are said to have been instigated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), but a spokesman for the regulator told us this wasn't the case.

Other banks are understood to allow back-to-front moves on a case-by-case basis. This is the case at UBS, for example, even though the Swiss bank was burned by rogue trader Kweku Adoboli, who moved out of the middle office and used his trading knowledge to manipulate the banks' systems.



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