* UK bank to cut 70-90 investment bankers in Asia-sources
* Bank will keep "significant and large" investment bank-CEO
* CEO says comfortable with capital position
By Lawrence White and Steve Slater
HONG KONG/LONDON, Jan 24 Barclays wants
to remain a big player in investment banking even though the
British bank is cutting costs and jobs in that business,
including at least 70 in its Asian division.
The bank has not finalised the number of jobs to go in Asia
but it could be as high as 90, according to people familiar with
the plans, who declined to be identified because the matter is
Antony Jenkins, who took over as Barclays chief executive at
the end of August, is expected to cut about 2,000 investment
banking jobs globally in a review of the bank's business due on
Feb. 12. The bank told UK staff of possible cuts earlier this
"Barclays will continue to be a universal bank and it will
continue to have a very, very significant and large investment
bank as part of that universal banking model," Jenkins told CNBC
in an interview from Davos on Thursday.
He declined to specify the scale of cuts in Asia, but said:
"We still see opportunities for us in Asia in investment banking
and equities, but we also see opportunities for us in other
parts of the world so it's a relative, rather than an absolute
"We live in a world where capital is scarce and we have to
deploy it against our best opportunities."
Banks globally are having to cut costs to cope with this
more hostile climate, partly the result of tougher regulation on
the industry after the financial crisis.
The CEO said more regulation and nationalism and a tough
economic backdrop would limit revenue growth across the industry
and was forcing banks to shrink, pick areas of strength and
focus far more on cost-cutting.
The future shape and size of Barclays' investment bank is
considered the most critical part of Jenkins' review as the
business contributes more than half of group profits.
Jenkins took over from Bob Diamond, who left the bank after
a scandal over interest rate rigging for which Barclays was
fined $450 million.
The CEO is also attempting to drive through a change in
culture and standards after a string of scandals, including
Barclays' fine for manipulating Libor interest rates, and
mis-selling problems in Britain.
"The industry and Barclays got it wrong on occasions. We
were too aggressive, we were too short-term focused and we were
too self-serving," he said.
Jenkins said he was confident in his bank's capital
strength, after warnings from the Bank of England that UK banks
may need to raise capital.
"We are very comfortable with our capital position through
the course of this year. We have ongoing discussions with our
regulators so we're comfortable with our capital position."
In Asia, Barclays had spent heavily to hire a team of
veteran investment bankers after the 2008 financial crisis, with
the hope of creating a business in the region that would put the
London-listed bank in the same league as Goldman Sachs
and Morgan Stanley.
But the Asian operation was hit by delays in establishing
its equity business, stiffer than expected competition from
local firms, and a quick rebound in Asian markets that allowed
rivals to regain momentum.
A spokesman for Barclays declined to comment on the scale of
Barclays has about 3,000-4,000 investment banking staff in
Asia, out of 23,300 globally.
Barclays ranked 8th in investment banking fees earned
globally last year, but was only 20th in Asia, according to
Thomson Reuters data.
Jenkins said his review - dubbed "Project Transform" - will
have repercussions for the bank's corporate structure.