Tensions are flaring between Barclays and a corporate raider, who's agitating to grab more control of the British bank

TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty ImagesEdward Bramson is agitating for more control of Barclays. He’s been rebuffed by CEO Jes Staley.
  • Corporate raider Edward Bramson is agitating for more control of Barclays and is manoeuvring to change the composition of the company’s board of directors.
  • The latest gambit by Bramson comes after Barclays rebuffed his effort to become a non-executive director.
  • Bramson’s hedge fund Sherborne Investors holds a more than 5% in Barclays and has been lobbying for cuts to its investment bank.
  • That strategy is in tension with that of CEO Jes Staley, who has made the investment a cornerstone of his turnaround effort.

Edward Bramson, the activist thorn in the side of Barclays, is ramping up his efforts to sway the British lender’s strategy and push for cuts to its investment bank.

In a letter to investors of his UK-based hedge fund Sherborne Investors, Bramson said he’s lost confidence in his dealings with Barclays and is manoeuvring to change the composition of the company’s board of directors by taking a vote to shareholders, according to a report from Bloomberg.

“After considering the situation carefully, we do not have confidence that continued engagement with the company, strictly as an outsider, will produce any more measurable results in the future than it has to date,” Bramson said.

The latest flare-up in tensions between Barclays and Bramson – who revealed a more than 5% stake in the bank last year – comes after the lender recently rebuffed the hedge-fund titan’s bid to take a non-executive director role on the board.

Read more: Barclays just named its new crop of managing directors – here is the list

Bramson and Barclays CEO are fundamentally at odds over the bank’s strategy: Staley has made the investment bank the cornerstone of his turnaround strategy, while Bramson thinks its a resource drain and wants cuts to the division.

Like its peers, Barclays’ shares fell last year, but the firm’s investment bank had stellar results in the third quarter.

To gain traction for his vision, Bramson told his investors he could seek for a shareholder vote to change the board composition at Barclay’s annual meeting in May or in a separate session.

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