Jenkins must walk the fine line between change and stability

Marc Sidwell
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BARCLAYS’ share price has been on the rise since Antony Jenkins was appointed as chief executive late last August, recovering from the impact of the Libor scandal and Bob Diamond’s resignation in July 2012, and is now almost 30 per cent up on its price at this time last year.

Optimists will be hoping that this week’s long-awaited public presentation by Jenkins of his strategy review, and the results that accompany it, will be enough to keep the stock’s momentum upward.

However, that won’t be an easy line to walk. Jenkins has to balance the need to rehabilitate Barclays in the public eye with the need to maintain its revenues. Closing its Structured Capital Markets division won’t reduce tax avoidance – others will step into the gap – but it does mean Barclays forgoing the profit it generates. Similarly, Barclays relies on its investment bank for a significant share of its profits and can’t afford to talk it down too far. Underperforming parts need to go – but Jenkins must be careful not to pander too much to public opinion at the expense of shareholder value.