British bank Barclays is close to naming former JPMorgan Chase banker Jes Staley as chief executive. As Tim Graham reports it signals a renewed focus on an investment banking division that has been pared back over the past three years.
Is an American about to take over at one of Britain's biggest banks once again? Barclays is tipped to appoint Jes Staley as its next chief executive. The 58 year old earned his stripes over three decades at JPMorgan Chase, where he ran its investment bank. Leading to talk that Barclays' investment arm could be about to rise again. Commerzbank's Peter Dixon. (SOUNDBITE) (English) COMMERZBANK GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, PETER DIXON, SAYING: "It would be nice to think that banks could start to make money again, but until such times as we start to see normalisation of monetary policy, a little bit of easing of the regulatory environment and of course more certainty about what's happening to global growth, I think it's a business which will continue to underperform." Following a series of scandals, Barclays has stripped back its investment arm in recent years. Former chief executive Antony Jenkins oversaw that process, but was axed in July after losing the support of non-executive directors. The ructions have unsettled the market, says IG's Alastair McCaig. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IG MARKET ANALYST, ALASTAIR MCCAIG, SAYING: "The speed with which Mr Jenkins departed his role, or was announced his departure, maybe took the markets a little bit by surprise, although they were conscious that he wasn't 100 percent popular with all of the board. And the fact it's taken them so long to come up to this decision has maybe just smacked of indecision a little bit." Barclays new leader undoubtedly has work to do. The bank is halfway through a drive to cut 19-thousand jobs. Investors and analysts want staff morale improved, and the investment arm built back up - but not aggressively so. While Barclays won't yet confirm the appointment, the job ahead won't be easy for whoever takes the reins.