As we were first to report last week, Fabio Madar, the global head of FX trading and distribution at Barclays, disappeared after less than a year at the British bank. Unlike Deutsche, Barclays isn't in the process of making big job cuts. Madar's exit appears to have been entirely voluntary. And it raises the question of who else will follow.
Neither Madar nor Barclays are commenting on the reason for his departure, but insiders at the bank say it can be summed up as a change in approach following the exits of Tim Throsby in March and Guy Saidenberg in May. Barclays' trading business is now run by Stephen Dainton, and anecdotally it's not nearly as thrusting as it used to be. Costs are apparently being cut, and the expectation is that bonuses will be down.
If they materialize, cuts to bonuses should not come as a great surprise. After all, Jes Staley, CEO of Barclays' investment bank was already reported to be thinking of cutting the generous bonuses he's been paying at Barclays three months ago as he sought to see-off 'corporate raider' Edward Bramson. Barclays' CFO Trushar Morzaria seemed to intimate this new cost-cutting mettle when the bank presented its first quarter results. "If performance is good, we'll pay for it as we did last year," said Morzaria. "And if performance isn't good then we won't pay for it."
While this is all to be expected, though, it's not clear how it will go down with the large number of senior traders Barclays hired under Throsby and Saidenberg, when Barclays was being considerably more gung-ho. In particular, it's not clear how it will be received by the various big hires made by Madar himself, who weren't expecting their new boss to leave so soon.
Barclays insiders say that during his short time at Barclays, Madar brought on Rafael Hernandes and Jeremy Monnier from Deutsche Bank, Alex Shterenberg from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Shahid Akram from Goldman Sachs, Jim Coulton from BlueCrest, and Pritpal Gill from Citi.
Insiders say that most of Madar's hires joined Barclays in big global roles and arrived to work with Madar himself with the aim of growing Barclays' global FX business, which ranks outside the top 10 so far this, according to Euromoney. Now that Madar's gone, the question is whether they will leave too.
It might be argued that Madar's team don't have too many options in the current market, with Deutsche Bank and Nomura people on the street and FX revenues down 6% year-on-year in the first half, according to Coalition. Deutsche, however, isn't cutting FX people as vigorously as others (if at all) and most banks are targeting FX trading as a way of attracting corporate clients. The real question is where Madar goes next. And that remains to be seen.
In the meantime, Barclays has a few things in its favor, including the BARX trading platform and algo 'BARX Peg', which won a Profit & Loss magazine award in March/April 19.
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