Uncategorized 9.5.2014 06:00 am

Barclays Africa holds off local retrenchments

Picture: AFP

Picture: AFP

There will be no job losses in the Barclays Africa operation, including South Africa bank Absa, after the Barclays Group announced this week that 2014 would see a gross group headcount reduction of 14 000.

“There will be no changes for Barclays Africa to the way in which we are structured or continue to operate. We envisage no employee reductions as a result of the changes announced today,” a Barclays Africa spokesperson told Business.

In a Barclays Group strategy update on May 8, group CEO Antony Jenkins said that the group’s investment bank would see gross headcount reductions of around 7 000 to 2016. He said Barclays had revised its overall 2014 group gross headcount reduction from an initial 10 000-12 000 to around 14 000. “These changes will be challenging for colleagues. We will be clear and open with affected colleagues about the impact of our plans and we will treat them with care and respect,” Jenkins said.

He noted that the bank’s cost reduction plan was working. At its first quarter 2014 results, it reported the lowest level of quarterly expenses, excluding restructuring charges, since 2009. “We will now go significantly further,” he said.

Jenkins set out four core businesses that would be the future focus of the international bank. These included personal and corporate; Barclaycard; Africa; and the investment bank.

“The Barclays Group strategy update represents a fundamental reshaping of the Barclays business and underlines the importance of Africa for Barclays,” the spokesperson said, noting that Barclays Africa would continue to build the ‘go-to’ bank in Africa with the support of the group.

“The announcement clearly underscores Barclays Africa as a longer-term growth business with distinct competitive advantages, in which Barclays will continue to invest.”

The spokesperson said the Africa strategy would not change as a result of the announcement.

Ramos still at the top

Over the next two-and-a-half years, Barclays Africa plans to focus on the turnaround of its retail and business banking franchise across Africa; investing in corporate banking across the continent; capitalising in the wealth, investment management and insurance opportunities; and continuing to invest in talent.

Its key financial targets include being top three by revenue in its five largest markets; a return on equity of 18% to 20%; a cost-to-income ratio in the low 50s; and a revenue share of 20% to 25% from outside of South Africa. “We are making good progress on these priorities and will provide an update to the market when we announce our half-year results.”

The group announcement noted that Maria Ramos would continue to lead Barclays Africa.

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