July 31, 2013

Barclay’s has and projects leveraging its equity 45-35 to 1 times. Would not 10-15 to 1 be sufficient?

Sir, I refer to Patrick Jenkins and Daniel Schäfer’s “European banks move to bolster equity level”, as well as to The Lex Column note on Barclays, July 31.

Both mention the current leverage ratio of 2.2 percent of Barclay and the recent goal of 3 percent established by global regulators.

Those leverage ratios, translated to usual historic equity leverage indicators, those used in the pre-risk weighting days of the Basel Committee, would be 45 to 1 and 33 to 1 respectively.

Sincerely, do you not believe these leverages to be somewhat on the high side? Would not leverages between 10 and 15 be more than sufficient?

Lex holds that having to move from 2.2 percent leverage ratio to 3 percent “has delayed the date when Barclay’s return on equity will beat its 11.5 per cent cost of equity by a year to 2016.”

And that also begs the question whether shareholder would not be happy with a lower return of equity, if that came hand in hand with much lower assets to equity ratio?