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Barclays Wields Jobs Axe At UK Investment Bank

(c) Sky News 2013

London-based employees at Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) ' investment banking arm have been put on notice that their jobs are at risk as the bank launched a process to slash a "substantial" number of roles.

I understand that staff were emailed earlier today to say that Barclays was commencing a consultation process to identify potential redundancies across its investment banking business.

People familiar with the matter said the consultation process would end during the first half of February, and that all areas of the investment bank, including frontline deal-makers as well as back office staff, were under review.

News (NasdaqGS: NWS - news) of the impending jobs cull, which insiders said was likely to involve hundreds of job cuts in London, comes weeks before Antony Jenkins, Barclays' new chief executive, outlines the results of a review of the bank's operations.

Mr Jenkins has already made it clear since taking over as the bank's boss in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal that Barclays would continue to be a universal bank, offering both retail and investment banking services, under his leadership.

However, his efforts to repair the group's tarnished reputation is likely to involve withdrawing from more contentious areas of the investment bank's operations, such as some elements of commodities trading and aggressive tax planning.

Last week, Mr Jenkins told Barclays staff that they would have to adhere to a strict new ethical code of conduct if they wanted to remain at the bank.

Reports late last year suggested that as many as 2,000 jobs would be shed at Barclays' investment bank but that the bulk of these cuts would take place in Asia and continental Europe.

People familiar with the matter said these reports had been "speculative" and that today's consultation process signalled that a substantial number of jobs were expected to go in the UK.

Barclays employs approximately just under 10,000 people at its investment bank in London, principally at its Canary Wharf headquarters. About 23,000 people work at Barclays' investment bank globally.

Since acquiring the US operations of Lehman Brothers after the collapse of the Wall Street bank in 2008, Barclays has made an aggressive push to become one of the world's pre-eminent investment banks. That drive, under Mr Jenkins' predecessor Bob Diamond, has met with some success but the cost of building that business has left many shareholders unimpressed.

Mr Diamond resigned following Barclays' £290m Libor fine, alongside Marcus Agius, Barclays' former chairman.

In a statement, a Barclays spokesman said: "We have begun a process of consultation with UK-based employees.

"This exercise is being carried out so that we can start to effect some of the strategic changes as a consequence of the Transform review of Barclays business, the outcomes of which will be announced on the 12th of February.

"Transform is explicitly intended to optimise the entire Barclays business and to accelerate our already strong performance. The changes planned for the Investment Bank are wholly consistent with that intent."

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