Barclays's Staley-Backed Plan Will Speed Trading Cuts, FT Says

Barclays Plc will accelerate cuts to its investment bank as the lender exits most trading operations outside its core U.S. and U.K. markets, the Financial Times reported.

Jes Staley, the former JPMorgan Chase & Co. investment banker who is likely to become Barclays’s chief executive officer early next year, supports the plan and will focus on New York and London operations, the FT said on Saturday, citing people it didn’t identify. The bank is exiting trading in continental Europe, Asia and Latin America, the report said.

Staley, a director at UBS Group AG, admires the Swiss bank’s efforts to shrink its capital-intensive trading businesses, the FT said. Separately, Mediobanca SpA has approached Barclays with an offer for its Italian consumer banking network, the FT said.

Will Bowen, a Barclays spokesman, declined to comment on the newspaper report.

Staley, 58, has emerged as Chairman John McFarlane’s top candidate to lead Barclays, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said Monday. Barclays said Tuesday that while noting “speculation” about Staley, “the process of appointing a new group chief executive officer has not yet concluded.”

Staley would inherit a strategy from former CEO Antony Jenkins that involved cutting 7,000 jobs at the investment bank by 2016, about 34 percent of its employees, and a commitment to reduce the division’s share of risk weighted assets at Barclays to about a third from a half.

McFarlane has pledged to focus on the U.K. and U.S., characterizing Barclays as a “trans-Atlantic bank,” and boost the debt and equity capital markets units and advisory arm, people familiar with the matter have said.

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