Barclays to reveal impact of investment banking's bad start to year


Barclays will reveal the impact of a dire start to the year in the investment banking sector as it kicks off earnings from the major high street lenders today.

Bosses at the bank will also face shareholders at the group's annual general meeting tomorrow amid criticism over new chief executive Jes Staley's pay deal.

First quarter figures from the group follow a dismal clutch of earnings on Wall Street after the new year stock market turmoil caused a collapse in trading and fee income.

US giant Goldman Sachs most recently laid bare the extend of the sector's woes, revealing its first quarter profits had more than halved, down 56%, while net revenues slumped 40% to 6.3 billion US dollars (£4.3 billion).

Chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, said the first quarter had seen "headwinds across virtually every one of our businesses".

An update from Morgan Stanley the day before was equally grim, showing profits had more than halved, while results from JP Morgan, Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have also revealed a hefty investment banking hit.

The Barclays results are expected to follow suit, although the group's retail arm will help offset some of the gloom.

The group's investment bank turned in a £146 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2015, which contributed to an 8% fall in annual pre-tax profits to £2.1 billion.

It has already warned over first quarter trading, saying alongside its annual results in March that figures are set be weaker than last year in the face of turbulent market conditions and a ''particularly strong March in 2015''.

Analysts are forecasting the group to post first quarter underlying pre-tax profits of £846 million and attributable profits of £471 million.

But comparisons will be hard to make with last year, given that it will report figures for the ring-fenced businesses separately to the retail division for the first time.

Mr Staley, who replaced Antony Jenkins at the helm in December, announced a group-wide shake-up in March to split the bank into two divisions - Barclays UK and Barclays Corporate and International - and offload most of its stake in its Africa business.

The group's new boss is likely to face a rough ride at the AGM which comes after shareholders saw the stock slump by a third in the last six months, while dividend payouts will also be more than halved over the next two years.

His pay will also be in sharp focus after shareholder advisory groups hit out at the size of his salary.

He is paid £1.2 million in annual salary and £1.15 million in role-based pay, with annual bonuses worth a potential 80% of salary and long-term share awards worth a possible £1.44 million.

Proxy voting agency Manifest and shareholder advisory group Pirc have criticised the annual salary, with Pirc calling for a vote against its remuneration report.

Barclays also awarded £1.7 billion in staff bonuses - including other incentives - for 2015, down from £1.9 billion the year before.

This included £976 million in bonuses across its investment banking business, down from £1 billion in 2014.