Barclays to ring-fence retail banking

Barclays has reported a 31 per cent rise in third quarter profit and announced proposals to ring-fence its retail banking operation in order to shield households from another banking crisis.

Barclays has announced proposals to ring-fence its retail banking operation in case of another banking crisis

The lender said that pre-tax profit jumped from £837m to £1.1bn as chief executive Jes Staley announced new financial targets.

"The third quarter of 2017 was particularly significant for Barclays as it was the first for many years in which we have not been in some state of restructuring," he said.

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"We now have high confidence in our capacity to assert when Barclays will start to deliver the economic performance which we know this group is capable of, and therefore today we are announcing new targets for 2019 and 2020 for Barclays."

The bank is proposing a restructure to help it meet regulatory rules that demand all British banks with more than £25bn of UK deposits ring-fence their retail operations from their riskier investment banks by 2019.

"Barclays intends to satisfy this requirement by setting up a ring-fenced bank, Barclays Bank UK PLC, which will be separate from Barclays Bank PLC. The two entities will operate alongside, but independently from, one another as part of the Barclays Group under Barclays PLC," the lender said.

The bank said its proposals require regulatory approval.

Ring-fencing aims to avoid a repeat of 2008, when people's deposits were put at risk and the Government was forced to bail out lenders left stricken by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market.

Barclays' third quarter results were boosted by the absence of a payment protection insurance (PPI) provision.

In the first half of the year, Barclays put £700m aside to cover costs relating to the scandal, which has engulfed the banking sector.

The group's total PPI bill stands at £9.1bn.

Net operating income came in at £4.46bn in the quarter, down from £4.65bn in the same period last year following tough trading at Barclays' markets division.

"The third quarter was clearly a difficult one for our markets business within Barclays International," said Mr Staley.

"A lack of volume and volatility in FICC hit markets revenues hard across the industry, and we were no exception to this trend.

"We did however see an improvement in profitability in Barclays UK, and a good underlying return from our consumer, cards and payments business, which partially offset the under-performance in markets."