Barclays’ beat puts activist Bramson on the back foot
Barclays (BARC) surprised the market last week by beating earnings forecasts after riding out the trading slump which hammered its rivals late last year.
Most investment banks including the big Wall Street banks had a terrible last quarter of 2018 but Barclays saw a mere 6% drop in trading income which suggests it continues to grow market share.
Chief executive Jes Staley believes he can turn Barclays into a genuine ‘bulge-bracket’ investment bank, a position fiercely opposed by activist investor Edward Bramson.
Bramson, whose company Sherborne Investors holds more than 5% of Barclays’ shares, wants a seat on the board and has called for the investment bank to be scaled back.
However the latest financial results are ‘supportive of the bank’s strategy’ says Staley, who questions Bramson’s need to be on the board.
‘The sense we are getting from shareholders is that they want stability in the boardroom and for management to continue to execute our strategy,’ he adds.
Key Barclays investors like Aviva (AV.) are turning away from Bramson with the insurer commenting that his pursuit of a board seat has ‘no merit’ any more.
All eyes will now be on Barclays’ investment bankers to make sure that last quarter’s results weren’t a fluke.