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'It would be a good thing for Dodd-Frank to stay in place': Barclays CEO


Wall Street would benefit if Dodd-Frank, the piece of legislation born out of the 2008 financial crisis, were to remain in place, Barclays chief executive Jes Staley told CNBC.

"My view, or our view, is that it would be a good thing for Dodd-Frank to stay in place and not to repeal it," Staley told CNBC on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump had campaigned for regulatory reform during last year's election campaign and has since actioned an executive order to repeal and replace Dodd-Frank at the start of February.

Several Wall Street banks have criticized the complicated financial regulations put in place by the Obama administration and described them as overly restrictive. However, Staley argued U.S. lenders could stand to benefit by leaving the legislation unchanged.

"We hope the G-20 continues to believe (a level-playing field of financial regulation) such that whether it is the U.K. and the European Union negotiating or the U.K. and the U.S. we keep the free flow of capital open across national borders which benefits everybody," Staley added.

We'll settle with DOJ if treated fairly: Staley

Jes Staley, chief executive of Barclays Plc.
Nicky Loh | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Jes Staley, chief executive of Barclays Plc.

The British bank is also unique among other major lenders in that it has yet to reach a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the mis-selling of mortgage-backed securities back in the heat of the financial crisis.

Both Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have settled with the DOJ though Staley stressed Barclays would only be willing to do so once a "fair" deal can be agreed upon.

"What we're looking for is a treatment that is commensurate with how the U.S. banks were treated by the Department of Justice," Staley said.

"There were transgressions… I think everyone has acknowledged that but as an American I think what was important is, you know, let us be treated fairly with how the U.S. banks were treated and if we are treated on that level we hope to settle with the Department of Justice," he added.

Too early to judge transatlantic approach

Barclays had reported worse-than-expected net profits for 2016, but posted a surprise uptick in its capital buffers as the U.K.-based bank nears the end of a major restructuring program.

Staley told CNBC on February 23 that the full-year earnings reflected the lender's progress as it offloads its unwanted assets, such as its African business, and instead prioritizes a more "transatlantic" strategy which focuses on the U.S. and Britain.

On Wednesday, the Barclays boss stressed that more time was necessary before being able to judge whether its shift to a more transatlantic approach had been a success.

"I think it is way too early to pass judgement (but) we like the momentum that we have," Staley said.