By far its biggest coup was the $1.85bn acquisition of Lehman Brothers’ American business, which has helped business boom at investment bank Barclays Capital (BarCap). This division, headed up by Bob Diamond, is set to be the star of the show when the bank reports first quarter numbers on Friday. Along with other investment banking peers, strong revenues at its fixed income division will have helped, as will a growing advisory business that is hell-bent on stealing market share from rivals.
Last year, pre-tax profit was £5.3bn, excluding the gain on the sale of asset manager Barclays Global investors. Consensus expectations are for that to rise to £6.4bn this year, with a large chunk of that – £2bn or so – coming from the traditionally strong first quarter.
Of course, uncertainty remains, especially while a benign interest rate environment is flattering profits and the regulatory outlook is gloomy. But with so many losers from the financial crisis, it is worth backing a winner.