Activist investor Ed Bramson has started approaching Barclays shareholders in an attempt to gain their backing for big changes to the investment bank, according to reports.
Bramson, the boss of Sherborne Investors Management, has told large investors he wants the bank to up returns from its investment bank and increase payouts to shareholders, the Sunday Telegraph reported today.
Options for improving investment bank returns could reportedly include pulling out of sectors where it has failed to match up to competitors.
Read more: Barclays draws up contingency plans as it awaits activist investor move
Barclays has faced regular calls from analysts over the last few years to take action to improve the performance of the investment bank, with some investors concerned the lender is ploughing too much money into a perceived weaker division.
However, Barclays’ investment bank has already undergone two rounds of restructuring in the last four years, after exiting some areas in which its offering was weaker. Recent volatility on equity and bond markets will also provide a welcome first-quarter boost to the bank’s markets desk.
Bramson, who has previously targeted smaller financial firms such as Foreign and Colonial and Electra, bought up a stake of more than five per cent in the bank in March, prompting a wave of speculation across the City as to his intentions.
Barclays has drawn up contingency plans with its corporate brokers to prepare for Bramson’s next move, although the media-shy investor has made no public statement of his intentions.
The bank’s investor relations team met Bramson after informing the investor revealed he was building a stake following the bank’s annual report.
The five per cent stake, worth around £1.5bn at the share price at the end of last week, allows Sherborne to call extraordinary general meetings to put motions to shareholders, including over board appointments.
Read more: Bramson betting on Barclays break-up