Barclays CEO Says Job Creation Needed to Avoid ‘Social Unrest’

Barclays Plc Chief Executive Officer Robert Diamond said more jobs and economic growth are needed to alleviate social unrest as strikes and protests spread across Europe and the U.S.

“We’ve seen violent protest in Greece, public-sector strikes across Europe; anti-capitalist demonstrations which started on Wall Street have spread to other places including St. Paul’s Cathedral,” he said today at a lecture for the British Broadcasting Corp.’s Radio 4 Today program. “The threat of further social unrest remains if we don’t work together to generate stronger economic growth and more jobs.”

Demonstrators, inspired by anti-Wall Street protests in New York and other cities, set up about 200 tents outside St. Paul’s almost three weeks ago. Ken Costa, chairman of Lazard International until March, started a joint program this week between the Church of England and financial services companies to reconnect the industry with “the ethical,” according to a statement from the church.

Banks have done a poor job of explaining how they contribute to society, Diamond said. Financial firms and corporations must learn to be better citizens amid calls by protesters for tighter regulation of the financial-services industry, he said.

“We have to accept responsibility for what has gone wrong,” Diamond said. “Let’s make no mistake about it, strong banks want strong regulation. No taxpayer money should ever again be put at risk to rescue a failed or failing bank.”

Barclays, which has eliminated 3,500 jobs this year, reported a quarterly profit this week that beat estimates as earnings at the U.K. consumer bank more than doubled and investment-bank revenue declined by less than at European peers.

Diamond earlier called for bankers to regain the trust of the public following the financial crisis in an interview at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland in January. He told a House of Commons committee in January that it was time that for banks to stop apologizing and start rebuilding confidence.

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