Jes Staley fires ‘UK warning’ despite Barclays recovery

Despite posting Barclays best results in over a decade, Chief Executive Jes Staley has warned that an ‘uncertain economic landscape’ threatens UK business growth.

Publishing its H1 2019 interim results, the FTSE100 banking group records corporate revenues of £10.8 billion, combined with half-year net profits of £3 billion, up 82% on H1 2018’s £1.7 billion.  

Nevertheless, any 2018 comparatives are skewed as the UK bank recovers from its £2 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice in relation to conduct charges attached to the banking group selling ‘toxic mortgage packages’ prior to the 2008 financial crash.

Leading Barclays, Staley has implemented a cost reduction regime, which this quarter saw the banking group shed 3,000 jobs across its operations, as Staley focuses on improving Barclays operating margins, stating that the company will prioritise ‘income-generating roles’.

Staley who was appointed Barclays CEO in 2015, maintains the group’s corporate target of returning to profitability by 2019 and 2020, however financial analysts remain downbeat on Barclay’s prospects facing multiple UK challenges.  

Though Barclays improves its topline metrics, at closer inspection the Bank’s ‘bad debt’ has increased from £570 million to circa £931 million, with many analysts believing this to be a sign of a pre-Brexit weakness.

In its trading update Barclays made no mention of  Hard Brexit contingency plans, simple posting the following announcement

“Brexit is one of the most significant economic events for the U.K., and at the date of this report its effects are subject to unprecedented levels of uncertainty of outcomes, with the full range of possible effects unknown,” Barclays warned in its second-quarter results.