Thursday 18 February 2021 9:08 am

Barclays to keep ‘significant presence’ in Canary Wharf despite pandemic

Barclays chief executive Jes Staley today insisted the bank will keep a “significant presence” in Canary Wharf despite a shift to home working prompted by the pandemic.

Staley last year prompted speculation that Barclays could cut down its office space in the financial hub after he said the outbreak of Covid-19 could make large offices a thing of the past.

Read more: Barclays to resume dividend as Covid loan provision hits £4.8bn

But the banking boss today appeared to tone down his approach, stating that his company had no plans for a “major real estate move”.

“We will keep a significant presence in Canary Wharf, no one has a crystal ball as to how this will all unfold, but right now there is no plan on our part to make a major real estate move,” he said.

Barclays’ headquarters are located at One Churchill Place, a 32-floor skyscraper in Canary Wharf, while its investment bank is housed in nearby 5 North Colonnade.

Despite Staley’s commitment to the financial hub, speculation remains that the bank could close the smaller building and bring all activities into its main offices.

The majority of Barclays employees are working from home, with some key staff such as traders working from makeshift trading floors around the capital.

While the bank has not made formal plans, a return to the office is thought to be unlikely while social distancing measures are still in place.

Read more: Canary Wharf could move into Zone 1 in new Transport for London plan to raise fares

Staley’s comments came after Barclays announced it was reinstating its dividend for 2020 following a regulatory ban on payouts due to the pandemic.

The lender suffered a less severe hit to profit than expected, as strong performance in its investment bank offset a £4.8bn provision for bad Covid loans.