Barclays boss Jes Staley spills the beans on Dodd-Frank, Brexit and robots

 
Hayley Kirton
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Jes Staley has shared some words of wisdom (Source: Getty)

Barclays boss Jes Staley was in a chatty mood today – perhaps unsurprising given his bank just announced it had nearly tripled its yearly profits.

However, it wasn't just bottom lines and capital ratios the banking chief executive spoke about, as he shared his words of wisdom on a slew of other issues weighing on the banking sector:

Dodd-Frank

Bankers are not usually advocates for red tape for their industry, but Staley believes the Dodd-Frank rules have "made the banking sector safer overall".

However, he conceded that some areas, particularly the capital requirements in the Volcker rule, could do with some tweaking. "It's technical things like that where people realise adjustments could be beneficial," Staley said.

Staley also revealed one of the pricier pieces of red tape for Barclays actually came out of the UK, and not the US, as it needs to get the bank ready for when the ringfencing rules take effect in 2019.

Recently inaugurated US President Donald Trump has set his sights on loosening the Dodd-Frank regulations, signed an executive order earlier this month to review the rules.

Brexit

While HSBC has revealed it is planning to move bankers to Paris and Lloyds is mulling turning its Berlin branch into a subsidiary to help it continue business as usual post-Brexit, Barclays seems to be in wait and see mode. All the bank would reveal today was that it was still considering its contingency plans.

However, Staley seems keen to stay in London as much as possible, telling reporters: "We believe that London is the financial centre of Europe."

"We believe there is a financial ecosystem in London," he added.

​A string of economists, including those from the European Commission and the Bank of England, have recently done u-turns on gloomy forecasts for the UK following the Brexit vote, after the expected early signs the economy was wobbling failed to show. Staley noted today: "Everyone should feel good about how the UK consumer has responded."

Robots

According to Staley, "a bank is increasingly a technology company with a balance sheet and risk". That being said, he's not totally sold on the idea that flesh and blood banking staff will soon be replaced by a robotic workforce.

"I don't think technology can replace empathy," he said, adding: "Believing that technology is going to replace people is not always the right conclusion."

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