Financial News

  • 29 January 2014, 9:22

Barclays Imposes Travel Ban As Jobs Axe Looms

Barclays has slapped travel restrictions on its staff around the world as part of a renewed cost-cutting drive that is expected to include hundreds of job cuts in the coming weeks.

Sky News has learnt that Antony Jenkins, the bank's chief executive, has authorised a ban on all employee travel for internal meetings and demanded that executives restrict themselves to international travel only for "essential" discussions with clients and regulators.

The edict, which is understood to have signed by chief financial officer Tushar Mozaria earlier this month, comes as Mr Jenkins prepares a new wave of job cuts that insiders said was likely to impact on highly-paid directors and managing directors at its investment banking division.

Around 1,700 jobs were cut in the unit last year, with several hundred more expected to be shed in the next few weeks, said a person familiar with Barclays' plans.

Barclays, which is the first of the UK-listed banks to report its results for 2013 on February 11, is under pressure to improve its return on capital.

Last year, it raised nearly 6bn from shareholders following discussions with banking regulators about its leverage ratio, a measure of the strength of its balance sheet.

Senior sources said that Mr Jenkins had set up a special committee to oversee costs at the bank, headed by Patrick Clackson, the head of business transformation.

"There is a lot of anxiety inside the business about just how sharp the costs axe is going to be next month," said one.

Barclays' board is in the process of finalising proposals for bonus and dividend payments for last year, with insiders indicating that the bank will continue the rebalancing of staff and investor returns that commenced under Mr Jenkins a year ago.

The chief executive, who has been in the role since the summer of 2012, has set ambitious cost reduction targets, which the latest measures reflect.

The Sunday Telegraph reported at the weekend that Barclays was also examining the future of its sponsorship of the Premier League as part of a broader review that has seen it ending its association with London's 'Boris Bikes' scheme.

Last March, Sky News revealed that Mr Jenkins had signalled to shareholders that Barclays could shed as many as 40,000 jobs in the coming years as a consequence of increasing automation of services in its retail bank.

Lloyds Banking Group plans to remove more than 1000 roles, while Royal Bank of Scotland's new chief executive will announce next month a substantial cost-cutting programme, insiders say.

The job cuts in Britain's banking sector come despite the broader pick-up in the economy, with the Office for National Statistics saying that GDP had grown by 0.7% in the fourth quarter.

Barclays declined to comment.

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