Jaideep Khanna, CEO and Country Head of Barclays India operations, speaks with Business Today on the bank's business in the country and future plans. Edited excerpts:
Q: How has 2013/14 been for you?
A: In 2010/11 we focused our strategy towards a corporate and investment banking model, moving away from retail and business banking. With the change and the consistent execution of that strategy over the subsequent three years, the results started materially changing our profitability and performance by 2013/14.
We have made a significant investment into that (corporate banking) business and it has roughly grown 30-35 per cent over the three-year period between 2010/11 and 2013/14. And the final reason for the increase in performance is that the drag to the bottom line from our business banking and retail banking finally moved completely out of the P&L [profit and loss accounts] by March 2014.
Q: You have grown very well in 2013/14. What would you attribute the growth to?
A: It is business as usual. It has been a sharp focus on clients. Outside of that it is that we redefined our strategy in 2011 and any change in strategy takes time to reflect and that change has reflected in 2013/14.
The transfer pricing methodology changed between 2013/14, so the growth has been reflected in our balance sheet. The growth is actually more to the order of 25-30 per cent, but it shows up as 200 per cent because the recognition has been there for the first time.
Q: How has asset quality been?
A: Asset quality has improved and that is because of the repositioning of the firm in 2011. For the quality of any asset book to improve is a multi-year process. It doesn't happen in a year and the orientation away from retail and mid-market clients has led to a substantial improvement in both our asset quality and NPA ratios... Our asset quality remains very robust and given the asset profile that we maintain I do not anticipate any challenges over the next 12 to 18 months.
Q: Going ahead what is your expectation from India?
A: As an institution we remain extremely constructive on India. We feel that India is entering a period of positive structural change for the better, which will benefit the economy and we will actually move to a higher sustainable GDP growth rate ... However, the manifestation of the improvements will take some time. The stress in the financial services industry is high and will remain high for potentially another 12-18 months, at which point we will start to see the real benefits of the structural changes that we've witnessed over the last six to nine months.
Q: How about you as a company?
A: We, as a company, remain constructive on India and would like to grow our business here. Take more risks in the country and continue. We're very clear that our current strategy is working and that we would like to continue to focus and grow in the areas that we're currently in. So we have no desire to expand out of the current areas that we're in, whether it is corporate and investment banking, cash equities and wealth. These will remain our focus and we hope to see significant growth in the areas.