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P&M Notebook: should he Stay-ley or should he go?

notebook_Adobe_575x375_25September2020

What does the recent management shake-up at Barclays' investment bank mean?

Well, firstly it suggests that group chief executive Jes Staley is staying for the time being, as GlobalCapital reported last week.

Despite a sliding share price since he took over and various scandals, Staley remains very popular with investment bankers. He has defended the investment bank against activist investor Edward Bramson's calls for it to be shrunk.

As Notebook mentioned last week, he picked Paul Compton as global head of banking and CS "Venkat" Venkatakrishnan as global head of markets.

Staley’s plan is to give his two close friends, whom he recruited from JP Morgan, a chance to prove their credentials, and ensure a smooth transition in two years’ time.

However, whether one of them will eventually fill Staley's shoes remains to be seen. One former managing director said: “There is zero chance of Compton or Venkat becoming CEO, so that means an external appointment and all of the accompanying upheaval.”

In a previous investment bank shake-up, Staley's concern was with that unit's return on tangible equity, but this has shot up in the coronavirus crisis.

It isn't the same picture everywhere, though. Banks across the eurozone actually made no return on equity in the second quarter, according to new figures from the European Central Bank. That's 0%.

The worst performers were banks in Greece (minus 6.48%), Ireland (minus 7.07%) and Spain (minus 9.2%). And the worst performing business models were global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) and diversified lenders.

Meanwhile, just like death and taxes, the end of Libor looks inevitable, although there remain concerns that companies are just not prepared.

A survey by financial consultancy Duff & Phelps found that 65% of respondents had not completed planning for the transition away from the benchmark, which is due to stop being used by the end of next year.

While 45% of respondents said they had at least begun thinking about the transition, 20% said they had not even started the process yet.

NatWest Group is on the case, however, telling corporate clients about their options and next steps in a 12 page letter.

Elsewhere, the European Commission is seconding a senior funding official from elsewhere in the EU as it prepares for its stonking new borrowing programme.

Siegfried Ruhl, the head of funding and investor relations at the European Stability Mechanism, is joining on Friday as a counsellor to Gert Jan Koopman, the director general for the European Commission budget.

The secondment will be for six months but renewable for a further six months.

The ESM, meanwhile, has a new executive advisor in the form of Frank Czichowski, the former treasurer of KfW. He will assist the ESM on strategic topics related to capital markets and debt management.

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