Friday 23 October 2020 9:09 am

Jes Staley confirms intention to stay on as Barclays beats expectations

Jes Staley has signalled his intention to remain at the helm of Barclays after the bank reported better-than-expected results in the third quarter.

In a call with reporters Staley said he would like to lead the bank for two more years, after Barclays today reported a return to profit for its consumer division.

Between July and September, Barclays reported profit before tax of £1.1bn, almost double the average of analysts’ forecasts, and income of £5.2bn.

Barclays did not announce any succession plans in today’s earnings release but Staley told reporters “I think we’ll be here another couple of years… It would be nice to be here in kinder winds.”

It comes despite activist investor Edward Bramson recently renewing his attack on Staley and the bank’s investment division.

Earlier this year it emerged the Barclays boss was facing a regulatory investigation over his descriptions of his relationship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, prompting speculation Staley would step down early.

Barclays consumer division returns to profit

The lender was boosted by its Consumer, Cards and Payments (CC&P) division which returned to a healthy profit before tax of £165m in the third quarter. It reduces the year-to-date loss before tax to £449m, which included impairment charges of £1.5bn.

Barclays said that while the drivers of CC&P income are showing some signs of recovery “the outlook remains uncertain”.

The corporate and investment bank increased its income by 24 per cent to £9.8bn with markets income up 52 per cent off the back of wider spreads and market share gains.

Profit before tax in the corporate division increased by a quarter to £3.2bn.

The lender’s impairment charges now total £4.3bn, after booking charges of £608m for the quarter.

Barclays UK returned to profitability last quarter with profit before tax of £196m as economic activity recovered from the spring low point and impairment charges reduced.

For the first nine months Barclays UK delivered profit before tax of £264m.

Staley said: “Income headwinds in Barclays UK are expected to persist into 2021 including the low interest rate environment.” The Bank of England cut interest rates in the spring in an emergency move to support the UK economy in the face of the pandemic.

“With all the questions being raised about the future of… Staley these numbers reinforce the case for keeping the investment bank operation intact, and helping to support the business in these difficult times,” said Michael Hewson, CMC’s chief market analyst.

“This is one major advantage that Barclays has over Lloyds and NatWest Group, who report next week, in that continued outperformance in their investment banking division is likely to help them ride out the current uncertainty much better, and is already starting to be reflected in their share price,” he added.

Shares in Barclays jumped 4.02 per cent in early trading.