Barclays Bank hunts for lobbying help on EU laws

Barclays Bank is the latest bank to hunt for lobbying consultancy to help it manoeuvre in the fast-moving European legislative environment.

Legislation: Barclays is searching for lobbying help in Europe
Legislation: Barclays is searching for lobbying help in Europe

The British multinational bank has launched a search for an EU-level public affairs agency, as banks come under increasing pressure from proposed legislation such as the potential financial transaction tax.

Barclays is consolidating its European retail and investment banking public affairs into a single agency, in a process similar to when it appointed Cicero Consulting in April to handle all UK lobbying.

The bank currently uses Fleishman-Hillard for its investment banking public affairs, and the agency is repitching for the new consolidated account.

Lloyds Banking Group is also seeking help in its dealings with Brussels, after the bank launched a pitch process out of Fleishman-Hillard for its EU legislative work in February.

F-H has withdrawn from Lloyds' repitch process 'on procurement grounds'.

Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters ahead of the G8 summit at Camp David, Maryland, that he would not support the financial transaction tax, as it would 'hit people as well as financial institutions'.

However, France's new president, Francois Hollande, supports the tax and wants to recycle the revenue raised into growth-enhancing investment projects.

Banks are also unsettled by the EU's plans to develop legislation similar to the UK's Vickers report, which is set to segregate retail and investment banking.

Hollande has indicated he may be interested in doing the same in France.

Cicero Consulting has taken on the unified role of handling Barclays' group UK public affairs account, alongside the existing work it did for investment banking arm Barclays Capital.

A Barclays spokesman said: 'Barclays recently consolidated its UK agencies. We're doing the same for Barclays in Europe.'

He added that a decision was not imminent.

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