/Barclays CEO Jes Staley discussed his bank’s performance, the Archegos debacle, and growth in the UK economy in a new interview. Here are the 8 best quotes. (BCLYF, BCS)

Barclays CEO Jes Staley discussed his bank’s performance, the Archegos debacle, and growth in the UK economy in a new interview. Here are the 8 best quotes. (BCLYF, BCS)

Barclays Trading Floor
Traders work on the trading floor of Barclays Bank at Canary Wharf in London, Britain December 7, 2018.

Barclays CEO Jes Staley sat down with Bloomberg on Friday to discuss his company’s first-quarter performance, growth seen in the UK and US economies, India’s battle with COVID, the hybrid work environment, and more.

In the interview, Staley also said Barclays didn’t have any involvement in the Archegos or Greensill debacles and talked up the record quarter investment bankers had at the firm.

Barclays turned in a record pre-tax profit of £2.4 billion on revenues of £5.9bn in the first quarter of 2021.

The results beat analyst consensus estimates for a pre-tax profit of £1.75 billion on revenue of £5.15 billion from analysts.

Here are Staley’s eight best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

  1. “We are projecting out economic growth in the UK north of 6%. It should be the strongest year of economic growth in the UK since 1948. I think we’re all seeing very robust numbers in the US. A lot of this is being driven by the extraordinary rollout of the vaccination program. In the UK, over half the population now has been vaccinated.”
  2. “The capital markets have been incredibly robust. The central banks have used their balance sheets to inject an enormous amount of liquidity into the system. Since the pandemic, Barclays has underwritten north of £1.3 trillion of debt and equity. The economy is very liquid the capital markets have grown significantly. Just the credit capital markets alone have grown 40% in the last two years.”
  3. “We have no involvement in Archegos and no involvement in Greensill, which was good for our risk function. Our impairment numbers were low in the first quarter, but really driven by what we call our stage three losses our actual credit losses are down significantly and that’s reflected in the impairment number.”
  4. “India’s a very important country for us. We announced last week we distributed £1 million of medical supplies across some key cities in India…we have about 20,000 employees in India. It’s our second-most populous country after the UK…we’re letting our employees take leave if they need to stay home to take care of a loved one…it does put an additional burden on our call centers in the UK.”
  5. “We calculate that right now household deposits (in the UK) are running at £200 billion higher than they would be normally. When the economy reopens, the consumer has got £200 billion of firepower to increase their spending which would clearly drive an acceleration of economic growth.”
  6. “In our equities business we were up close to 100% year-over-year in our fixed business we were slightly off of a very strong quarter last year, but overall the investment bank generated a return on capital of over 20%, one of the most profitable levels this bank has had in well over a decade. That led to profitability for the bank overall of 15%, which is virtually triple what we did in the first quarter of last year.”
  7. “First and foremost, will be the health and wellbeing of our colleagues. I think many of them would like to come back into the office to reconnect with their colleagues. That physical presence, I think, is important for people, but also the pandemic has taught us that we can be quite flexible. So I don’t think you’ll see a strict mandate from Barclays.”
  8. “I think a lot of people at the margin will be rationalizing their real estate footprint. I think we will do that as well. But our main location…will continue to be the headquarters for the bank, and we’ll continue to use the full building.”
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