Barclays Plc has been hit by a string of departures among senior credit traders in New York and London unhappy that their bonuses failed to reflect the pandemic profit surge.
The bank has offered promotions to some employees and given assurances over future pay in an attempt to address their concerns, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing
Departures from the credit desk include Ovie Faruq, director in US high-yield cash and derivatives trading in New York, the people said. Bloomberg News has previously reported that Shrut Kalra, head of European investment grade trading, Taymour El Chammah, global head of macro credit trading, and John Cortese, co-head of US credit trading, left last month. They all declined to comment.
Faruq, Kalra, Cortese and spokesperson at Barclays declined to comment, while El Chammah did not respond to requests for comment.
Bonuses in credit trading rises by as much as 20% over the past year, the people said. However, the increase did not keep pace with the improvement in some teams’ performances, according to the people.
Across the bank, Barclays granted annual bonuses worth 1.09 billion pounds ($1.54 billion), down 3% year-on-year following an overall 30% drop in pretax profits in the wake of the pandemic.
Credit traders buy and sell bonds and loans issued by corporations and also deal in derivatives linked to their financial health. They thrived as companies were slammed by the pandemic before central banks intervened, sending bonds on a rollercoaster. A record $39 billion of US corporate debt was bought and sold on average every day last year, helping the biggest banks generate the most credit-trading revenue since 2013, according to data from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and Coalition Development Ltd.
The business is a key money maker for Barclays. Led by Adeel Khan, the unit’s best performers included traders in so-called flow credit and US high-yield bonds, the people said. Khan has recently made several promotions within the team. Last month, London-based Finbar Cooke and Michael Khouri were made co-heads of credit trading for Europe, while Hong Kong-based James Roberts took on the role for Asia.
While the bank stopped disclosing results for the unit several years ago, the credit business generated about 38% of the wider fixed-income division’s revenue for 2016 and 2017 combined, filings show. The division, which also houses teams dealing in government bonds and currencies, reported revenue of 5.1 billion pounds ($7.2 billion) last year, the most in almost a decade.
On an earnings call last month, Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley said the bank has the ability to cut bonuses to address investor concerns about its growing costs. “It’s a very controllable number so if our performance weakens we can take it right down again,” he said.