Barclays PLC showed its confidence in future earnings on Thursday by restoring its full dividend, despite lacklustre investment banking income, restructuring costs and USA tax reforms hitting the bank's 2017 bottom line.
2017 was a year of considerable strategic progress for Barclays. However, this was behind analysts' expectations of a £4.7bn profit.
Major hits included a further £700m provision for PPI claims, £2.5bn of losses related to selling Barclays Africa, and a £900m one-off hit from President Trump's tax reforms. But with one-off charges stripped out, underlying profits were £3.5bn, up 10%. Revenue fell 2% to 21 billion pounds ($29.3 billion). As a result, it saw costs fall by 5% past year.
He added: "We have already started to see some of the benefits of our work in 2017".
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While Barclays made an attributable loss on nearly £2 billion, pre-tax profits rose strongly, increasing by 10% from the previous year to £3.5 billion. That helped to boost Barclays' share price by 4%.
Nonetheless, the bank has promised to reinstate the dividend it cancelled two years ago at 6.5p this year, as it sought to restore some of the damage to its reputation with shareholders.
"The tax charge is a one-off, and actually lower USA taxes should be positive for Barclays in the longer term". Finally, the group notes that CIB Markets income is running ahead of the prior year comparative for the current year-to-date. "Clearly management and investors are pretty relaxed that it won't go that far, but there is no room for complacency". Total revenues of more than £21bn were broadly flat year-on-year, though there were heavy falls at the bank's key trading division.
At Barclays, the difference was largely the result of the proportion of women working in more junior roles, rather than a breach of pay equality rules that require people working at the same rank to be paid the same regardless of gender, the bank said.