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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2008, 21:12 GMT
Barclays boss over 2007 'stress'
John Varley
Barclays chief executive, John Varley is confident about 2008
In an exclusive interview the chief executive of Barclay's bank, John Varley, told the BBC that his bank had passed a "stress test" in 2007.

Mr Varley told BBC Business Editor Robert Peston that the market situation remains "quite fragile" due to the mortgage crisis in the US.

But he added that situation gave Barclays a "stress test" last year which, he said, it passed.

Barclays reported annual profits of 7.08bn, down 1% from a year earlier.

Those results included a net loss of 1.6bn stemming from turbulence on the global credit markets.

In the interview Mr Varley also made comments about the government's controversial plans to change the tax rules surrounding "non-domiciled" foreigners.

At the moment, UK residents who claim their real home is in another country pay no tax on their overseas earnings.

The government wants them to start paying tax, but there is concern that could drive wealthy investors away from the UK.

"I regard the non-dom issue as important. I want the tax environment in the United Kingdom to make London a magnet for talent.

"It has been in the past and must be in the future," said Mr Varley.

Northern Rock

But he was relaxed about the nationalisation of Northern Rock.

Some rival banks are worried that, with the government's backing, Northern Rock will be able to offer better deals and win market share.

"The government well understands the importance of a level playing field," Mr Varley said.

"It's not something that troubles me at all."

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