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Barclays - profits fall as provisions put aside for conduct issue

Half year income rose 17%, reflecting double digit increases across net interest income and income from fees and deal commission.

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Half year income rose 17%, reflecting double digit increases across net interest income and income from fees and deal commission. Including non-cash impairment charges, income rose 7%.

Pre-tax profits fell 24% to £3.7bn, as the group put aside a £1.5bn to pay a fine from the SEC, relating to the fact Barclays significantly oversold US securities.

Barclays now expects full year total operating expenses to be around £16.7bn, versus the previous outlook of £15.0bn.

A half year dividend of 2.25p per share was announced and Barclays plans to start a further share buyback of up to £500m.

The shares fell 1.7% following the announcement.

View the latest Barclays share price and how to deal

Our View

The sound of regulators knocking on the door is never good for a bank. The mishandling of US securities is unhelpful for sentiment to say the least, and raises some governance questions. It's also resulted in over £1bn being put aside to pay fines, taking profits with it. While this blunder is unfortunate and embarrassing, it's not a derailment of the investment case.

Rising interest rates have helped Barclays enjoy a boost to income from traditional loans and repayments. That's a case of the rising tide lifting all ships, though. There are some Barclays specific things to keep in mind.

Barclays is one of the world's largest global investment banks - a fact sometimes overlooked. This means it's far less reliant on traditional interest income, and instead generates most of its income from fees, commission and trading. This different model is an area of potential growth over the long term. Public and private markets are growing, and some investment banking competitors have reduced their activity, meaning market share is there for the taking.

This means historically low interest rates don't have quite as much of a negative effect. That's not to say they have no meaning for Barclays - far from it, but it has softened the blow in times of low rates.

Barclays is well capitalised, even over capitalised. It currently has a CET1 ratio - which is a key measure for capitalisation - some way higher than the regulatory minimum, although the recent US error has dented this. That's underpinning a generous share buyback programme as well as a progressive dividend (current prospective yield of 5.4%). Remember, no dividend is ever guaranteed.

Looking to wider conditions, Barclays has put aside close to £50m as an impairment charge in the first half, partly relating to concerns about the effect of inflation on consumers. This shouldn't be a core focus at this stage, but a worse than expected turn in the macro environment could see profits under pressure.

Barclays offers something a little different to the rest of the sector. It's more diversified, and that has been well rewarded over the last couple of years. That reduces its exposure to interest rates but doesn't eliminate it. Given Barclays' diverse revenue base, the valuation doesn't seem too demanding, though the recent governance questions do increase risk.

Barclays key facts

All ratios are sourced from Refinitiv. Please remember yields are variable and not a reliable indicator of future income. Keep in mind key figures shouldn't be looked at on their own - it's important to understand the big picture.

Half year results

Barclays UK, which is more reliant on traditional banking, saw net interest income rise 6% to £2.7bn, while net interest margins (the difference between what a bank earns in interest on loans and pays on deposits) rose to 2.67% from 2.54%. Growth reflects the benefits of rising interest rates, helping Personal Banking (62% of divisional income) rise 10%. Barclaycard Consumer saw income fall 11% as higher credit transaction volumes were offset by lower interest charges as people repaid debts faster and customers borrowed less. The non-repeat of credit releases from last year meant pre-tax profit fell 19% to £1.2bn.

Money earned from trading fees helped total income rise 21% to £9.9bn in Barclays International. Trading income rose 54% to £5.2bn, boosted by market volatility, while net interest income rose 26% to £2.0bn and income from fees and commissions fell 16% to £2.8bn. Pre-tax profit fell 26% to £2.8bn.

Total operating expenses rose to £9.1bn from £7.3bn, reflecting the increased litigation and conduct charges. Barclays achieved a Cost: Income ratio of 69%, compared to 65% last year.

The CET1 ratio (a key measure of a bank's capitalisation) fell 1.5 percentage points as the group's amount of risk weighted assets increased.

Excluding the impact of the SEC provision, return on tangible equity was 12.5%, and Barclays is still targeting a RoTE of 10% in the medium term.

This article is original Hargreaves Lansdown content, published by Hargreaves Lansdown. It was correct as at the date of publication, and our views may have changed since then. Unless otherwise stated estimates, including prospective yields, are a consensus of analyst forecasts provided by Refinitiv. These estimates are not a reliable indicator of future performance. Yields are variable and not guaranteed. Investments rise and fall in value so investors could make a loss.

This article is not advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any investment. No view is given on the present or future value or price of any investment, and investors should form their own view on any proposed investment. This article has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is considered a marketing communication. Non-independent research is not subject to FCA rules prohibiting dealing ahead of research, however HL has put controls in place (including dealing restrictions, physical and information barriers) to manage potential conflicts of interest presented by such dealing. Please see our full non-independent research disclosure for more information.

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Written by
Sophie Lund-Yates
Sophie Lund-Yates
Lead Equity Analyst

Sophie is a lead on our Equity Research team, providing research and regular articles on a selection of individual companies and wider sectors. Sophie's specialities are Retail, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Aerospace & Defence as well as a few of the big tech names including Facebook and Apple.

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Article history
Published: 28th July 2022