Daily Archives: September 11, 2012

Andrew Hill

Antony Jenkins, new chief executive of Barclays, and Rich Ricci, chief executive of corporate and investment banking, have said the right thing. Can they now do the right thing?

The rhetoric of their speeches to analysts on Monday was fine. Mr Jenkins said Barclays would “operate to the highest ethical standards. It will be balanced, less risky and more profitable”. Mr Ricci expanded on this:

We have always scrutinised our businesses based on their ability to generate returns, with careful evaluation of risk and controls embedded in that analysis. Now however, I feel it is appropriate to modify that assessment by explicitly looking at reputational risk as the first hurdle. We have to take a fresh look to see if there are products and services in which, given the changing environment, we no longer deem it appropriate to do business, regardless of financial return.

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Asked to choose between government intervention in the delicate business of innovation and government withdrawal from the field, I always used to plump for the latter.