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Exclusive: Barclays CEO to stop US talent flight

Photo Creator: Pcruciatti Photo Creator: Pcruciatti
Photo Creator: Pcruciatti Photo Creator: Pcruciatti

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Exclusive: Barclays CEO to stop US talent flight. According to sources, Barclays CEO C.S. Venkatakrishnan hosted a virtual town hall this week to address managerial changes that have caused approximately two dozen U.S. investment bankers to leave recently.

According to Reuters, the bankers joined rivals Citigroup Inc (C.N.), UBS Group AG (UBSG.S), and Jefferies Financial Group Inc (JEF.N). Venkatakrishnan’s participation shows the British bank’s pressure to maintain its U.S. investment banking brand.

In the first quarter of 2023, Barclays fell to 14th from sixth in Refinitiv’s Americas mergers and acquisitions league table, even as it rose from ninth to fifth in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. U.S. dealmakers struggled to maintain market share amid a slowdown in transactions.

Sources stated Venkatakrishnan offered to invest in investment banking to boost morale during the meeting.

Venkatakrishnan mentioned management changes that led to former Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S) investment banking and capital markets co-head Cathal Deasy and former Morgan Stanley (MS.N) global capital markets co-head Taylor Wright becoming Barclays global co-heads of U.S. investment banking in January.

The sources stated these newcomers were promoted over tenured Barclays bankers, including Marco Valla, who joined UBS.

Barclays had discussed new responsibilities with Deasy and Wright’s predecessors, John Miller and Jean-Francois Astier, in January. Astier was named global head of financial sponsors by Barclays last week, while Miller joined Jefferies last month.

Venkatakrishnan said the moves were part of a succession plan and reflected the bank’s strategic focus on big clients and wise use of its balance sheet to finance private equity investments.

Venkatakrishnan said compensation would reflect each employee’s value and performance in response to a meeting question. Barclays didn’t comment.

Venkatakrishnan’s second banker meeting in recent weeks. One source reported a 10-minute call last month in which he did not answer queries.

Barclays has also hired five U.S. and five international directors this year. The bank hired Jim Rossman as global head of shareholder advice from Lazard Ltd (LAZ.N) last year and Christopher Ludwig from Credit Suisse this year.

Still, Venkatakrishnan and other Barclays officials have failed to stop the outflow. According to sources, information services head Pete Contrucci joined UBS, U.S. financial sponsors co-head Evan Rothenberg resigned, and strategic finance director Daniel Kerstein left.

Kerstein declined to comment, but Rothenberg and Contrucci did not.

Barclays’ first-quarter pre-tax earnings rose 16%, beating analysts’ estimates, thanks to the U.S. It’s consumer, cards, and payments sector-led, not investment banking. However, merger and fundraising fees fell by 7%.

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