LONDON, April 28 (IFR) - Barclays failed to match the rebound in bond trading revenues shown by US rivals last quarter due to a weak performance in US rates trading, taking the shine off a strong performance in other areas of investment banking and across the group.
Barclays said revenues from credit and macro trading were £889m in the first quarter, down 1% from a year ago, in contrast to a 24% rise in fixed income, currency and commodities revenues across the big five US banks.
The British bank fell short due to its macro business, where revenues fell 14% to £490m. It blamed that on its US rates business - and also because it said its performance a year ago was better than rivals.
"Obviously we would have liked to have done better, the one place we'd focus would be US rates. In US rates the volumes were OK but we just didn't trade as well as we would like to," chief executive Jes Staley told reporters on a conference call after the results on Friday.
"The Barclays numbers in 2015, 2016 and 2017 have been fairly consistent, so it's not something that's particularly troublesome. We had a tough comparison given the strength of our first quarter last year," he said.
The bank also lagged US rivals in equities, where revenues fell 10% from a year ago to £462m, compared to a flat performance on average by US banks.
But Barclays fared well in advisory and underwriting, reporting its best ever performance in debt capital markets in terms of market share.
Banking fees jumped 51% to £726m, its best performance in three years, outperforming an average 33% rise across the US banks.
Revenues at Barclays' corporate and investment bank were up 7% from a year ago and it made a profit of £790m, up 13% from a year ago. Pre-tax profit across the bank more than doubled from a year ago to £1.68bn from £793m.
The results indicate Staley's turnaround plan has good momentum, but it could be derailed by an investigation into him and the bank over the handling of a whistleblowing incident.
The investigation relates to an attempt last year by Staley to identify the author of letters that were treated by Barclays as a whistleblowing incident, as revealed earlier this month.
"I made a mistake, I was trying to protect a vulnerable colleague, but I should have left the organisation to handle this," Staley told reporters.
He said he had not offered his resignation over the issue. The former head of JP Morgan’s investment bank became Barclays chief executive in December 2015.
Barclays is also under investigation over two fundraisings from Qatar investors in 2008. It said the UK's Serious Fraud Office has said it intends to make a decision on that "shortly" but refused to comment further.
Barclays said the redemption of US$1.375bn of US preference shares in the first quarter would save it US$98m a year. (Reporting by Steve Slater)