Barclays faces protest vote over Diamond's £17m pay

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The Independent Online

Barclays faces a massive protest vote against its chief executive Bob Diamond's £17million pay and bonus package today, despite revealing much stronger-than-expected first-quarter profits yesterday.

Somewhere between a quarter and a third of shareholders are expected to vote against the bank's remuneration report at the annual meeting, according to City sources. At the upper end that would be one of the largest shareholder revolts since 2003, when just over half of GlaxoSmithKline investors rejected its directors' pay package.

A large protest vote would signal that Barclays failed to placate investors last week when it made half of Mr Diamond's and finance director Chris Lucas' annual bonuses subject to more testing targets. The remuneration committee chair Alison Carnwath and the Barclays' chairman, Marcus Agius, are both likely to receive significant votes against their re-elections.

While only too happy to talk about Chelsea's European Champions League victory over Barcelona, Mr Diamond refused to comment on what might happen at today's meeting when he presented Barclays' first-quarter results yesterday. Instead he emphasised the forecast-beating 22 per cent rise in headline profits to £2.44billion. He said: "I feel pretty good. The first quarter was much more like the first half of 2011."

The big boost to profits came from its investment bank, the former Barclays Capital. Its profit of £1.27bn was down only 5 per cent on a year ago and net income was almost double that of the final quarter of 2011 during the eurozone crisis.

UK retail banking profits jumped 16 per cent while Barclaycard's rose by 18 per cent as both businesses saw sharp drops in bad debts. Even the loss-making European retail business improved. After losing £125m in the fourth quarter it lost only £43m in the past three months.