Barclays Moves Traders to London HQ in Office Shake-Up

Barclays Plc is moving investment bankers and traders to its headquarters in Canary Wharf and leaving its other office in east London’s financial district.

The bank plans to vacate its office in 5 North Colonnade, a few steps from its headquarters, by the end of 2022, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday. The lender will continue “to honor its obligations under the existing lease” and also renovate its remaining site at One Churchill Place, including creating a new trading floor.

“This is the result of a long-term review, which aims to drive efficiencies across the group’s real estate portfolio and enable the group to operate more effectively,” the bank said.

While the consolidation was being considered even before Covid struck, the decision comes as banks across Europe, including Barclays and HSBC Holdings Plc, rapidly redraw their office plans and reduce business travel as pandemic-era working practices offer a chance to press ahead with cost-cutting ambitions.

Barclays’ traders are currently making good use of their office space. Most of the bank’s trading teams are attending the office in person as Covid-19 restrictions ease in the U.K., with Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley saying last week that trading desks were at about 60% to 70% occupancy.

The lease on 5 North Colonnade runs until 2032, according to a 2010 press release. A spokeswoman for Barclays declined to comment on the terms of the lease.

Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf’s office market is in flux as the original leases taken out by banking giants, mostly signed in the 1990s, come to their end. While there’s still an average of 12 years left, about 15% have less than five to run.

Citigroup Inc. plans to consolidate staff from two buildings into one, Morgan Stanley is weighing its options for a new headquarters, and Credit Suisse Group AG is mid-way through a program of subleasing space it no longer needs.

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