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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  London Stock Exchange  >  Barclays Plc    BARC   GB0031348658

BARCLAYS PLC

(BARC)
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New York AG Schneiderman finally flexes muscles against Wall Street

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06/27/2014 | 07:53pm EDT
New York Attorney General Schneiderman speaks to reporters during the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates Arms Fair in Saratoga Springs in this file photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, long seen as a secondary force in policing Wall Street banks, is taking the lead in what may be the most ambitious case of his career: accusing Barclays Plc (>> Barclays PLC) of favoring its high-frequency trading clients.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, long seen as a secondary force in policing Wall Street banks, is taking the lead in what may be the most ambitious case of his career: accusing Barclays Plc (>> Barclays PLC) of favoring its high-frequency trading clients.

By making a case against the bank, Schneiderman has seized a lead role in a contentious dispute about whether high-frequency traders have turned the stock market into a rigged game that hurts regular investors.

The case against Barclays could lead to investigations into other Wall Street banks and define Schneiderman's career as an attorney general, lawyers say.

"It is the most important attack on practices in the market that any AG has engaged in a while," said John Moscow, a former Manhattan prosecutor who now handles white-collar defense cases.

Barclays spokesman Mark Lane declined to comment on Friday.

A former state senator and corporate lawyer, Schneiderman is following a well worn path for New York attorney generals - taking on Wall Street and potentially winning political capital - and could end up, like Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo before him, as the state's governor. He declined to comment for this story.

Schneiderman, 59, graduated from Amherst College and earned a Harvard Law degree in 1982. He spent 15 years in corporate law, including as a partner at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, where he handled white-collar defense cases. He served six terms as a state senator before running for attorney general, taking that office in 20ll.

Early in his tenure, Schneiderman was knocked for seeming more like the state legislator he used to be than a prosecutor. He has been less adept at grabbing headlines than Spitzer or Cuomo, and while he may have held banks accountable, he was less likely to push out ahead with cases.

In 2011, in his first year as attorney general, Schneiderman accused BNY Mellon Corp (>> The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation), the world's largest custody bank, of overcharging pension funds on foreign currency trades, alleging the bank made $2 billion. But the civil action was hardly novel, as similar cases had already been filed in other parts of the country.

He is co-chair of a state-federal task force that in 2013 settled with JPMorgan Chase & Co (>> JPMorgan Chase & Co.) for $13 billion, with more than $600 million going to New York. The bank admitted to having routinely overstated the quality of mortgages it sold to bond investors before the housing crisis. He also is a key negotiator with Bank of America Corp (>> Bank of America Corp) over similar claims. But banks have been settling with prosecutors and investors over these matters for years.

In contrast, Spitzer busted Wall Street with a $1.4 billion settlement with big banks and brokerages for urging customers to buy stocks that their analysts privately said were junk. Cuomo led a nationwide investigation into the auction-rate securities market, uncovering how the investments were marketed as safe when in reality they faced increasing liquidity risk. His investigation resulted in more than $60 billion in investor buybacks.

People close to Schneiderman characterize him as patient and low-key. While Spitzer runs in Central Park in his free time and Cuomo rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle, Schneiderman practices yoga.

But lawyers say that banks should not be fooled by Schneiderman's demeanor. He carries a big stick, namely the Martin Act, a New York state securities law that is powerful for prosecutors because it often does not require proof of intent to deceive. Some lawyers have criticized the law as too broad, with some saying it has been superseded by federal law.

"Another bank will pay enormous fines under a law that, in my mind, no longer exists,” said defense lawyer Robert McTamaney, a critic of the law, referring to the Barclays case.

(Reporting By Tim McLaughlin and Karen Freifeld; Editing by Dan Wilchins and Frances Kerry)

By Tim McLaughlin and Karen Freifeld

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION -2.94% 24.47 Delayed Quote.-30.52%
BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON CORPORATION (THE) -4.04% 33.97 Delayed Quote.-32.51%
BARCLAYS PLC 1.03% 93 Delayed Quote.-48.70%
CAREER CO., LTD. 0.57% 355 End-of-day quote.-28.28%
THE LEAD CO., INC. -1.60% 369 End-of-day quote.-5.38%
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Financials
Sales 2020 21 243 M 27 166 M 27 166 M
Net income 2020 644 M 823 M 823 M
Net Debt 2020 - - -
P/E ratio 2020 24,6x
Yield 2020 0,13%
Capitalization 15 986 M 20 447 M 20 442 M
Capi. / Sales 2020 0,75x
Capi. / Sales 2021 0,77x
Nbr of Employees 80 800
Free-Float 99,6%
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Technical analysis trends BARCLAYS PLC
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 23
Average target price 142,68 GBX
Last Close Price 92,16 GBX
Spread / Highest target 155%
Spread / Average Target 54,8%
Spread / Lowest Target -20,7%
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Managers
NameTitle
James Edward Staley Group Chief Executive Officer & Director
Nigel Paul Higgins Group Chairman
Mark Ashton Rigby Group Chief Operating Officer
Tushar Morzaria Group Finance Director & Executive Director
Timothy James Breedon Independent Non-Executive Director
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CHINA CONSTRUCTION BANK CORPORATION-21.55%172 547
CHINA MERCHANTS BANK CO.. LTD.2.71%139 966