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Barclays' macro traders are not feeling the love

Following this year's Barclays' bonus round and announcement of senior management changes, sources at the British bank say there's some disquiet in the historically powerful macro trading team.

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Bonuses announced this week were allegedly bad, and there are fears that credit traders are the new favorites.

"The mood is dismal," says one senior macro trader in New York. "A lot of people got zeroed, even though we didn't have a bad year on my desk." Barclays declined to comment, but one macro headhunter agreed: "Bonuses there seemed sh*tty," he says.

Bonuses aren't the only issue, though. In its senior management changes this week, Barclays appointed Adeel Khan as its sole head of global markets. Khan, who has worked for Barclays since 2008, cut his teeth as a credit trader and rose up through the credit side of Barclays' business. As the British bank talks up the potential for growth in securitized products and Barclays seeks to cut costs, there are fears that Khan will favour his former friends. "It seems that emerging markets rates and FX could lose people," says one insider, adding that poor bonuses seem an attempt to persuade traders to leave of their own accords.

Markets revenues at Barclays fell 26% year-on-year in the final quarter of 2023. The bank said this was partly because it was a bad quarter across in the industry in macro and a good quarter in securitization, but that securitization is not where the bank is strong. The bank plans to cut £188m in compensation costs for the investment bank before 2026. 

In this week's strategy presentation, Barclays said it plans to cut risk weighted assets allocated to the investment bank as it seeks to increase the return on tangible equity from 7% to 12%. Macro traders at the bank said this will also be to their disadvantage and that they're being asked to only work with clients that are fully collateralized. At the same time, some costs that were previously registered centrally have allegedly been pushed to desks. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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