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Barclays PLC (BCS)

  • Thu, Mar. 12, 11:53 AM
    • Incoming Barclays (BCS +0.1%) chairman John McFarlane earned his nickname as someone not afraid to slash plenty of jobs as he helped restructure financial companies across the globe. "The stock is rallying just because he is coming in," says an analyst. "But he faces a strategic dilemma: does he want to make the investment bank profitable or just run it down?”
    • McFarlane has said his primary focus at Barclays won't be on changing the culture at the oft-investigated lender, but instead on boosting returns to its owners.
    • Taking the chairman's job at U.K. insurer Aviva in 2012, McFarlane spent weeks with a small team studying every nook of the company, and figuring out whether each one was making enough profit. Since, six board members have left, thousands of jobs were cut, a new CEO has arrived, and the stock has roughly doubled.
    • Barclays could prove trickier, says one insider, as this process will be less about cost-cutting and more about a radical strategic overhaul.
    • Source: WSJ
  • Tue, Mar. 3, 4:58 PM
    • Putting a number on the dismantling of Royal Bank of Scotland's (NYSE:RBS) investment bank, the FT reports the bank has set a target of cutting up to four out of five jobs in the unit by 2019 - a full 14K positions. A large proportion of those will be in the U.S. and Asia.
    • "I am not a very patient person," said Barclays (NYSE:BCS) CEO Antony Jenkins after his bank reported a loss for 2014. "We won't hesitate to optimize the capital allocated to the investment bank." There have been long-running rumors Barclays might spin off or sell its investment bank, as analysts say it's better positioned to do so than RBS, especially as regulators are forcing it to split its U.K. and U.S. operations into separately funded entities.
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  • Tue, Mar. 3, 2:45 PM
    • Investigators have asked Barclays (NYSE:BCS) for information on its electronic-trading platform which contains a program allowing traders a "last look" at an order before placement, reports Bloomberg.
    • Last-look is a vestige of the old computer era when the lag between an order being placed and confirmed was long enough to expose the market-maker to an unfavorable price movement. The lag has moved to pretty close to zero, but banks still retain the right to halt trades on a last-look basis.
    • “Last look is a hangover from a technology problem that no longer exists, yet still allows traders to reject trades and re-quote orders to the disadvantage of clients,” says David Mercer, CEO of LMAX Exchange, a forex platform competing with major banks.
    • For its part, Barclays is reserving another £750M for forex probes, bringing the total expected cost to about £1.25B.
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  • Tue, Mar. 3, 3:20 AM
    • Despite a 12% uptick in pre-tax profit, Barclays (NYSE:BCS) reported a net loss of £174M for 2014, compared to net profit of £540M a year earlier.
    • Over the past year, the bank has been hit with probes ranging from forex manipulation to accusations that it misled customers in its dark pool.
    • Barclays, which remains in talks with regulators, put aside an additional £750M in Q4 to deal with the allegations.
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  • Fri, Feb. 27, 2:27 AM
    • The NY Department of Financial Services' probe of Barclays' (NYSE:BCS) forex business is holding up a £1B settlement of currency rate-rigging allegations that other U.S. and U.K. authorities are close to resolving, FT reports.
    • In November, six banks were fined more than $4B over allegations of price fixing and manipulating benchmarks in the forex market, although Barclays pulled out last minute because the DFS was not involved.
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  • Tue, Feb. 24, 1:56 AM
    • U.S. officials are probing at least 10 major banks for the possible rigging of precious-metals markets, even though European regulators shelved a similar investigation after finding no evidence of wrongdoing, WSJ reports.
    • The DOJ is scrutinizing the price-setting process for gold, silver, platinum and palladium in London, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has opened a civil investigation.
    • Banks under scrutiny: HSBC, BNS, BCS, CS, DB, GS, JPM, OTCPK:SCGLY, OTCPK:SGBLY, UBS
  • Fri, Feb. 20, 4:48 AM
    • Squeezed by new capital and risk rules and tough markets, Wall Street is taking the ax to its workforce, a report by London research firm Coalition shows.
    • The number of investment bankers, traders, salespeople and research analysts at the world’s largest banks has fallen 20% globally since its recent peak in 2010.
    • While job cuts on the front end have become standard, firms have been increasing their back-office hiring to beef up controls in areas ranging from compliance to risk.
    • Related tickers: BAC, BCS, OTCQX:BNPQY, C, CS, DB, GS, JPM, MS, UBS
  • Fri, Feb. 13, 4:32 PM
    • Fresh off news that its agreement with Costco (NASDAQ:COST) is coming to an end, American Express (NYSE:AXP) is also splitting with JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) as the airline has reportedly reached a new credit-card deal with Barclays (NYSE:BCS) and MasterCard (NYSE:MA).
    • The change ends a credit-card partnership that started in 2005. AXP's pact with Costco has lasted 16 years.
    • Airline deals are generally desirable for card issuers as annual fees are more likely and travel awards can spur spneding.
    • After hours, AXP down just 0.1%; MA +0.1%; BCS +0.2%.
    • Previously: Analysts weigh in on American Express after Costco loss (Feb. 13 2015)
  • Tue, Feb. 10, 2:56 AM
    • In the final stages of a long-running investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice has recently informed Barclays (NYSE:BCS), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), the Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) that they must plead guilty to criminal charges that they manipulated the prices of foreign currencies, NYT reports.
    • Last November, regulators fined five major banks a total of $3.4B for failing to stop traders from trying to manipulate the foreign exchange market, following a year-long global investigation.
    • In a separate forex probe disclosed today, the NY Department of Financial Services sent subpoenas to several other banks, expanding its investigation of whether the banks' electronic trading platforms allowed them to front-run clients in the forex market.
    • Previously: FT: Forex trading probe widens (Feb. 09 2015)
  • Tue, Feb. 10, 1:54 AM
    • The NY Department of Financial Services has sent subpoenas to Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), BNP Paribas (BNZPY) and Societe General (OTCPK:SCGLY), Reuters reports, expanding its probe of whether banks' electronic trading platforms allow them to front-run clients in the forex market.
    • At issue is a latency period between the time an offer is floated and accepted.
    • The department is already probing Barclays (NYSE:BCS) and Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) over similar concerns and installed monitors at those banks in recent months.
  • Mon, Feb. 9, 1:48 AM
    • The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether Barclays (NYSE:BCS) and UBS (NYSE:OUBS) sold structured products without disclosing the profit they were making from currency trades used to generate the products' returns, FT reports.
    • Five major banks, including UBS, were fined $3.4B in November to settle forex allegations, although the DOJ was not one of the agencies involved in the deal. Barclays also did not take part in the earlier settlement.
  • Tue, Feb. 3, 2:52 PM
    • "Barclays' (BCS +6.2%) non-core division looks to be mis-priced," says the Morgan Stanley team of Chris Manners and Fiona Simpson, upgrading the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight. The two say the bank's non-core unit has lower NPL exposures and lower risk weight density than peers, and thus a lower scope for losses than is being priced in.
    • "Capital concerns should fade as non-core capital is released and legacy conduct issues are resolved. We think a ‘steady state’ 13% CET1 ratio is almost in sight, and forecast CET1 of 13.2% by Dec 2017."
    • As for the core bank, the due say its has two strong businesses with clear growth opportunities. The investment bank, however, "is highly capital consumptive and delivering subpar returns, and we expect management to continue to strictly ration capital to the division."
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  • Tue, Feb. 3, 1:20 PM
    • The EU last year put into place a new bank-resolution law which would force losses on bondholders - 8% of a failing bank's liabilities would have to be wiped out before a bailout could be discussed.
    • Without the systemic support, S&P cuts ratings on Credit Suisse (CS +1.9%), HSBC (HSBC +1.5%), Barclays (BCS +6.2%), Lloyds (LYG +3.6%), RBS (RBS +3.6%), and Standard Chartered (OTCPK:SCBFF +2.4%).
    • Among those on watch for a cut, says S&P, is Deutshce Bank (DB +3.5%).
  • Thu, Jan. 22, 2:00 AM
    • The Barclays (NYSE:BCS) dark pool drama continues, after NY AG Eric Schneiderman accused the British bank of defying subpoenas seeking the testimony of two executives.
    • Previously, the AG accused the bank of false representation and favoring high frequency traders over other investors in its dark pool.
    • Barclays says Schneiderman is overreaching, but it will "continue to seek to cooperate" with the lawsuit.
    • Previously: Schneiderman rebuts Barclays motion to dismiss dark pool lawsuit (Sep. 17 2014)
    • Previously: Barclays begins dark pool probe (Jun. 27 2014)
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  • Tue, Jan. 20, 9:16 AM
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  • Fri, Jan. 16, 9:46 AM
    • The sharp rise in the Swiss franc yesterday triggered about $150M in losses at Deutsche Bank (DB +0.1%), reports the WSJ, and Barclays (BCS -0.9%) suffered tens of millions of losses, a black eye, but not enough to materially impact overall bank results.
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Company Description
Barclays PLC is a financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management. It operates in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.