Barclays is to consider dividing its bank into two to separate its investment banking arm from the retail and commercial divisions, according to reports.
The Sunday Times reports the investment bank, formerly known as Barclays Capital, could be floated in New York, with the rest of the bank keeping its London listing.
The Barclays board is also thought to be urging former chief executive Bob Diamond, who quit last week in the wake of the Libor and interest rate swap misselling scandals, not to accept his full payoff of up to £17m.
The newspaper reports senior Barclays figures are believed to have met the Association of British Insurers to discuss plans to cut Diamond’s exit package.
Barclays’ official statement was that splitting its investment arm was not being considered, but two senior insiders and one former board member told the newspaper the plan would be studied.
The source said: “We have to consider whether there is greater value for shareholders from a break-up. We are faced with a hostile regulator and capital requirements in Britain that are restrictive.”
Barclays chairman Marcus Agius announced his intention to step down last week. He will stay on to lead the search to replace Diamond. Deputy chairman Sir Mike Rake, currently chairman of Easyjet and BT, is tipped as the favourite to replace Agius, while head of Barclays’ retail bank Anthony Jenkins is favoured to become the new Barclays chief executive.
Bank of England deputy governor for financial stability Paul Tucker is appearing before the Treasury select committee this afternoon to explain his role in the Libor scandal.