Barclays could slash up to 2,000 jobs from its investment bank when its new chief executive, Antony Jenkins, reveals his strategic plans in the new year.
But the bulk of the jobs are likely to go in Asia and Europe rather than at the more profitable operations in London and New York.
Barclays said today it would not be making any comment until Mr Jenkins outlined his plans.
Sources told the Wall Street Journal that senior executives at Barclays had recommended that the investment bank, headed by Rich Ricci, could lose between 1,000 and 2,000 posts.
These could well centre on the Far East business, where Barclays has recruited strongly in recent years but has failed to achieve critical mass. It ranks a mere 23rd in mergers and acquisitions activity in the region.
The review of the investment bank, codenamed Project Mango, will look not just at numbers of staff but areas where the bank does not have the clout or market share to make decent profits.
Any downsizing by Barclays would follow much larger cuts at some of its rivals. UBS and Citigroup recently announced a total of more than 20,000 job losses.
Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse have made sizeable cuts while Royal Bank of Scotland has also been reported to be shrinking its investment bank.
Barclays employs some 23,000 people in investment banking, so even a 2,000 cut would represent less than 10 per cent of its workforce.
Barclays has made it clear that it is committed to the universal banking model, which allows it to service corporate clients across the range of services it offers.
Barclays this year paid £290m to US and UK regulators to settle Libor-rigging charges and is also contesting a major fine for rigging the electricity market in California.
It has appointed lawyer Antony Salz to review business conduct across the bank, and he is due to report in time for the annual meeting next spring.