The investment vehicle of corporate trouble-maker Edward Bramson took a stake in Barclays in 2018 with a view to persuading management to rein in its investment banking ambitions.
The chief executive of Barclays, Jes Staley, spent 34 years at the US investment bank JPMorgan and not surprisingly he disagreed with Sherborne’s view.
Staley’s strategy was backed by the Barclays board and despite attempts by Sherborne to get City institutions on its side, it made little headway in its campaign.
Staley’s argument was that Barclays needed many strings to its bow to keep it on an even keel and this viewpoint appeared to be vindicated during the pandemic, when Barclays’ investment banking operations put in a strong shift, resulting in an impressive share price rally.
The official story from Sherborne is that it has found better places to invest its money and given that it has dropped a packet on its Barclays investment, that may well be true, although with the shares almost double what they were eight months ago the investment company may be having one last little dig at Barclays, suggesting the price may have become a little “toppy”.