Barclays third-quarter profit rises

Industries Dow Jones Newswires

A Barclays logo is pictured outside the Barclays towers in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Copyright Reuters 2017)

Barclays on Thursday announced an increase in third-quarter net profit, helped by a fall in conduct and operating costs. 

Continue Reading Below

The British bank said revenue in the quarter was down 5% to GBP5.17 billion ($6.9 billion) compared to a year ago, as bond trading revenues slumped. Net-profit rose to GBP583 million from GBP414 million a year ago. 

Like others in the industry, revenue from Barclays's investment bank was hit by low market volatility. The bank's markets business revenue slumped by 30% year-over-year. This was somewhat offset by the bank's U.K. retail and card business. 

Barclays clarified its targets, saying it would have a return on equity of greater than 9% in 2019 and greater than 10% by 2020. Currently, the bank's return on equity is 5.1%. 

Costs in 2019 will be between GBP13.6 billion and GBP13.9 billion, excluding litigation and conduct charges and other investments. But the bank didn't make clear when it would increase its dividend. That announcement will likely be made during the bank's full-year presentation early next year. 

"We can now turn our full attention towards what matters most to our shareholders: improving Group returns," said Barclays Chief Executive Jes Staley. 

Continue Reading Below

After ditching billions of assets, cutting 60,000 staff and exiting over a dozen countries including most of Africa, the British bank is moving into the next stage of a plan to shed costs. 

But investors are still to be convinced. Year to date Barclays has the worst performing share price of any major European bank. A big question is whether Barclays is capitalized enough to meet new regulations and any potential settlement with U.S. authorities over its alleged role in the packaging of U.S. subprime mortgages. 

Investors also fret about the amount of resources the bank will have to pour into its investment bank to make it competitive. 

A cloud also hangs over Mr. Staley, who is being probed over his efforts to unmask a whistleblower who raised flags about a hire the U.S. banker made. 

Write to Max Colchester at max.colchester@wsj.com