James Moore: Now Barclays has its man, will Hector decide Rich is for the high jump?

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Outlook Barclays has got its man. Hector Sants, the former head of the Financial Services Authority, became one of the City's hottest commodities when he quit the regulation game.

The fact that the bank has done what it takes to get him for the job of cleaning up its Augean stables – he'll take the new role of (deep breath) head of compliance and government and regulatory relations – can be seen as a statement of intent.

Of course, we won't know the inducements he was offered for signing on the dotted line because the bank won't disclose his salary. Mr Sants will sit on the executive committee, one step beneath the full board. So it doesn't have to.

Given that the main competitor for his services was Deloitte, the City accountancy firm which wanted to hand Mr Sants a partnership, he may have been able to name his price.

It's a fair bet he won't be slumming it on a mere £835,000 a year like he was at the FSA, although his bonus, long-term incentive plan and other bits and pieces will presumably be awarded in restricted shares and subject to clawback, etc. As demanded by his old employer.

In reality, Barclays and Mr Sants are too smart to get that wrong. With Sir David Walker, who authored a government review into the governance of banks, installed as chairman following the Libor affair that so sullied its reputation, this is a bank that is desperately keen to be seen as one of the good guys.

What Mr Sants' appointment does do is to further consolidate the power of the Brits in the company's key roles. It's still an international bank. But with the American Bob Diamond and his Canadian number two Jerry del Missier gone, the centre of gravity has shifted.

So it will be interesting to see what happens to Rich Ricci. The American is the last member of the tightly knit triumvirate that built Barclays Capital, now Barclays Investment Bank, into a global force.

He handled the integration of Lehman Brothers for Mr Diamond and now heads by far the most profitable but also the most controversial part of the bank, one from where its recent problems with the watchdogs have hailed.

Brash, and a bit flash, he's been with the bank for nearly two decades and has set down roots here, not least through his passionate interest in national hunt racing, a sport which doesn't exist outside of rural Maryland Stateside. Mr Sants, who was once himself an investment banker, now probably holds the key to whether Mr Ricci stays put or has to jump like the horses he owns.