Jenkins vows to mend Barclays

 
Tim Wallace
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ANTONY Jenkins yesterday pledged to restore Barclays’ tarnished reputation by taking the lead in reforming the industry, insisting he will wholeheartedly take part in schemes to boost lending and will seek to implement the new ring-fence well ahead of official deadlines.

Jenkins has taken over from shamed chief executive Bob Diamond who resigned at the start of July after becoming embroiled in the Libor fixing scandal that saw the bank hit by a £290m fine.

The appointment has been interpreted as a very public signal that the bank wants to move away from the risk-taking approach of Diamond, who made his name building up Barclays’ investment banking arm – until yesterday Jenkins headed up the retail and business banking unit.

Jenkins yesterday denied to City A.M. that this means he wants to shrink the investment bank, insisting the highly profitable arm “has a great franchise” that he wants to capitalise on.

Instead, he argued “we have an obligation to all of those stakeholders – customers, clients, shareholders, colleagues and broader society” – which analysts see as an important sign that the culture and practices of the bank will change.

“The bank’s fight to restore its reputation continues,” said Hargreaves Lansdown’s Keith Bowman.

“The former head of Barclaycard appears untarnished by the Libor scandal, and given his group experience, provides something of a running start.”

As part of this obligation to customers and broader society, Jenkins said he backs plans to boost lending to households and firms.

“We are very supportive of the initiatives the government is running to support enterprise,” he told City A.M.

“With the national loan guarantee scheme we were by far the biggest participant, accounting for over two-thirds of the business – we intend to be a leader with the funding for lending scheme.”

But despite these lending commitments, he is also confident he can hit increased regulatory capital ratio targets in the coming years.

“We have never felt constrained by capital requirements or by funding costs,” he claimed.

Furthermore, Jenkins has started to take on the high-paying culture by taking a lower pay packet than his predecessor. Jenkins’ £1.1m salary is 26 per cent lower than Diamond’s, while his long-term incentive pot can reach up to 400 per cent of his salary, down from the 500 per cent maximum for Diamond.

His annual bonus will come in at up to 250 per cent of his salary.