(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com- – Thur, 23 Feb, 2017) London, Uk – –
Barclays profits have surged after the cost of past misconduct fell and traders cashed in on market volatility following the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's election.
The bank said profits rose 182% to £3.2bn from £1.1bn the year before.
It saw a sharp fall in litigation and conduct costs for the year, from £4.4bn in 2015 to £1.4bn last year – though conceded that the threat of US action over past behaviour still hung over the business.
Meanwhile, income from its markets division rose 9% to £5.3bn helped by increased volatility and higher activity in part of the business “post the EU referendum decision and US elections”.
The wider corporate and investment arm of Barclays saw a 14% rise in profits to £2.6bn.
Chief executive Jes Staley received a pay package worth £4.2m for his first full year in the job though the total bonus pool for staff edged down slightly – from £1.54bn to £1.53bn.
It comes days after results from rival HSBC which showed that it was buffeted by “unexpected economic and political events” as profits fell 62%.
HSBC had also reiterated contingency plans to shift 1,000 jobs to France depending on the nature of any Brexit deal but Mr Staley said Barclays had no plans to move staff to Europe.
He said the UK was proving resilient to Brexit uncertainty and said he believed London would “remain the financial centre that it is today”.
Mr Staley added that the bank would “lighten” a hiring freeze put in place last year, which saw the workforce reduce by 15,000.
Barclays has like other UK banks been weighed down by growing multibillion-pound bills to compensate customers who were mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) in earlier years.
The bank's results reflected the fact that it added £1bn to this bill in 2016, but this compared to £2.8bn the year before.
On Wednesday, Lloyds Banking Group also reported a huge increase to its bottom line thanks to its PPI costs falling year-on-year.
However, the prospect of US action over its sale of mortgage-backed financial products in the run-up financial crisis still hangs over Barclays, after a Department of Justice civil case was filed in December.
Mr Staley said: “Certain legacy conduct issues remain and we intend to make further progress on them.”
The chief executive, who took charge just over a year ago following the departure of predecessor Antony Jenkins, said overall the bank had made “strong progress”.
He said: “We are now just months away from completing the restructuring of Barclays, and I am more optimistic than ever for our prospects in 2017, and beyond.”
The restructuring includes hiving off its Africa business, a move which will see the group pay the division £765m.
Mr Staley is aiming to refocus Barclays as a “transatlantic, consumer, corporate and investment bank, anchored in London and New York”.
Shares climbed 4% in morning trading.
By John-Paul Ford Rojas