PLC said net profit more than doubled as equities trading revenue surged and the U.K. economy started to recover from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
The London-based lender earned £1.7 billion in the first three months of the year, the equivalent of $2.37 billion, up from £605 million in the same period last year.
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Barclays operates a trans-Atlantic investment bank as well as offering traditional financial services in the U.K. Pretax profit from the investment bank, which trades fixed-income securities, equities and derivatives, rose 46% to £1.7 billion in the first quarter. Provisions for bad loans fell to £55 million in the quarter from £2.1 billion in the same period last year.
The performance of the investment-banking arm is a boost for Chief Executive
who has backed the unit in the face of criticism from activist investor
who has called for the unit to be scaled back. Mr. Bramson’s Sherborne Investors owns about 6% of Barclays.
In the first quarter, Barclays ranked seventh among global investment banks in terms of revenue, one place behind
, the highest-ranked European bank, according to Dealogic.
The U.K.’s rapid rollout of Covid-19 vaccines has improved the prospects for all British banks. Public-health restrictions were relaxed further this month and the country is on course to fully reopen its economy by the summer.
After setting aside billions of pounds for bad loans in 2020,
PLC released some of those provisions in the first quarter, citing improving economic prospects.
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