Barclays told staff yesterday that it would shut nine offices around the world, including almost all its business in Russia and Brazil, which had been seen as star performers reports The Times

Tom King, the head of the investment banking division, said in a memo to staff that it was with “regret” that the lender had to embark on an “evolution” of the business, which has been hit in the past year as markets have fallen and trading commissions collapsed.

“Our returns have improved and we are ahead of many of our peers in reshaping our franchise. But there is more to do,” Mr King wrote.

The cuts will mean that the bank will virtually shut its cash equities business in Asia, closing offices in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Among the biggest losers is Barclays’ precious metals business, which will be closed.

The move comes a month after Jes Staley, a former senior executive at JP Morgan, became the bank’s chief executive, succeeding Antony Jenkins. Mr Staley has since led a review of operations.

In common with other shares, Barclays’ have been hit hard recently by the fall in global markets. The shares are trading at a three-year low, although the stock was up 2.2 per cent at 186¼p at yesterday’s close.

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