Barclays reveals revival plan to woo investors as profits fall | BusinessNews

Barclays has revealed a revival plan to shore up support among investors that includes cutting costs and risk while bolstering returns.

The UK-based lender’s shake-up, that Sky News reported last month had already resulted in 5,000 job losseswill also see an overhaul of management, some business disposals and £10bn returned to shareholders over three years.

A total of £3bn was planned for 2023 – up 37% on the previous year.

The plan was announced as Barclays reported a 6% decline in annual pre-tax profits to £6.6bn.

Shares, down by more than 3% in the year to date ahead of the updates, rose by 6% at the open.

Chief executive CS Venkatakrishnan, known as Venkat, told investors: “Our new three-year plan… is designed to further improve Barclays’ operational and financial performance, driving higher returns, and predictable, attractive shareholder distributions.”

He had previously pledged to listen to a growing number of investors seeking a streamlined business model and improved returns as the bank’s share price lagged those of rivals.

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Venkat was head of global markets at Barclays ahead of his appointment in November 2021. Pic: Barclays
Venkat was appointed chief executive in November 2021. Pic: Barclays

A top complaint has been Barclays’ reliance on its high cost and high risk investment banking arm for profitability.

That business has attracted greater regulatory scrutiny industry wide since the financial crash of 2008, becoming even more vulnerable in times of economic uncertainty.

Its corporate and investment bank income fell by 4% to £12bn in 2023 as client activity dipped.

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Barclays said it would simplify its business through the creation of five divisions, boosting accountability in the process, with more investment money being directed at its UK consumer arm.

The company moved to strengthen its domestic retail bank earlier this month when it agreed to buy the bulk of Tesco Bank’s operations in a deal worth up to £1bn.

John Moore, senior investment manager at RBC Brewin Dolphin, said of the bank’s update: “Barclays has a habit of delivering mixed news – and today’s results are no different.

“While the bank’s results for last year are more or less in line with expectations, they are still behind 2022.

“Plans to make cost reductions and revise its corporate structure should help drive improved profitability in the next few years, underpinning shareholder returns of £10bn.

“The acquisition of Tesco Bank also looks like a good, low-risk deal in terms of overlap, cost savings, and gaining some market share.

“Barclays is in a reasonable position and appears to be cautiously optimistic about the future, but execution of the plan set out today will be key to its performance.”

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