London — Barclays CEO Jes Staley’s efforts to fend off an activist investor and pursue his own strategy were bolstered by stronger than expected earnings at its investment bank, the centrepiece of his strategy. Second-quarter trading revenue at the London-based bank grew 11%, the bank said on Thursday, more than the average 9.5% pace achieved by US banks in the quarter. "That would be one of the best performances of an investment bank, whether it be Europe or the US," Staley said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. "This is Barclays running free." Staley increased spending and risk-taking in a bid to turn around the struggling investment bank. Yet revenue at the lender had sputtered since he took the helm in 2015, adding to pressure from regulatory probes and activist investor Edward Bramson, who reportedly wants to alter the bank’s plans. The CEO said in the interview that he had met with Bramson once, and other executives had had "a number of conversations" with the investor. "We s...

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