Barclays buoyant for first quarter, but the market remains unconvinced.

Barclays (LON:BARC) reported a surge in profits for the first quarter of the year, driven by strong performances across all divisions.

The bank reported pre-tax profit at £1.682 billion for the quarter, up from £793 million for the same period last year. However, the bank took a £884 million hit relating to its African business, which it is in the process of offloading.

Profits after tax from continuing operations more than doubled to £1.2 billion – far above market expectations. Moreover, revenues rose 16 per cent to £5.8 billion, while operating costs fell 5 per cent to £3.6 billion.

Chief Executive Jes Staley, commented on the figures:

“We are now just two months away from completing the restructuring of Barclays as a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank and there is further good reason in this quarter’s performance to feel optimistic for our prospects,” Staley said.

This marks the first set of quarterly results for CEO Staley, amid controversy over his attempt to unmask the identity of a company whistleblower just over two weeks ago.

“As I’ve said I made a mistake. I was trying to protect a vulnerable colleague. I should have left the organisation to handle it,” said Staley, during questions following the bank’s first-quarter profits presentation.

Despite the mounting pressure facing the former JP Morgan head, after a shareholder advisory service advised investors to call for his resignation, Staley refused to comment on his future at the helm.

Both Barclays and Mr Staley are set to face impending investigation into the case, by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority, which is ultimately a rare occurrence. Mr Staley, who was appointed chief executive back in 2015, is crucially at risk of being banned from financial services as a result of the investigation by both UK and US regulators.

Despite the promising results, markets remained unconvinced with shares down 5.14 percent as of 11.45 AM (GMT), marking the biggest faller on the FTSE 100.

This follows an encouraging set of quarterly results for RBS (LON:RBS) who also reported on Friday, posting its first quarter profit since 2010.