Barclays wins shareholder vote over pay

Barclays shareholders have given the green light to a controversial remuneration plan to widen the bank's bonus pool despite opposition to the pay package.

The majority of the bank’s shareholders voted in favour of the move to increase its staff bonus pool by 10% to £2.38bn at Barclay’s AGM on London’s Southbank today.

Some 34% of shareholders failed to back the report including large institutional investors Standard Life and fund manager F&C Investments.

The bank reported 7.1 million shares were cast in favour, 2.24m million opposed it and a further 1.4 million votes were withheld.

The outgoing head of Barclays’ remuneration committee, Sir John Sunderland, was heckled by shareholders after he hit out at Standard Life for going public with its opposition to the bank’s controversial pay awards.

Alison Kennedy of Standard Life Investments said the decision to vote against the company’s remuneration report had not been taken lightly “but, on balance, [we] believe this was the right thing to do.”

She added: “We are unconvinced that the amount of the 2013 bonus pool was in the best interests of shareholders, particularly when we consider how the bank’s profits are divided amongst employees, shareholders and ongoing investment in the business”.

Sunderland replied that he would have appreciated the pensions firm making its objection during an earlier consultation process. One shareholder shouted “you don’t care” after Sunderland said it had been anticipated the decision to hike bonuses by 10% would be controversial.

“Compensation in the financial services industry is far too high but we cannot take the risk of acting unilaterally,” said Sunderland.

“Do you imagine we want to pay anyone in the bank more than we have to? Do you imagine I and the chairman seek the level of invective that has been poured upon us?”

Barclays’ chairman Sir David Walker also defended the bank’s decision to increase bonuses. Walker, due to step down next year, told investors that the 10% rise in bonuses paid out for last year was partly due to the fact that there had not been the scale of clawbacks seen in 2012 as a result of various fines and settlements with regulators.

Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins also had good news for shareholders, saying that cost cutting had had “a material effect” in the first three months of this year. That would counter falling revenues in its fixed-interest, currencies and commodities trading business leading to a “small reduction” in first-quarter profits. This appeared to be better than some analysts had feared and Barclays shares rose more than 1%.

Walker said the bank had had to defend its business as the number of its investment bankers in the United States lured away to rivals doubled in 2013. That saw bonuses rise 10% to £2.38 billion last year despite a 32% fall in pre-tax profits.

He added: “We took our decisions on remuneration in the belief it was  necessary to protect our franchise. I am confident we took the right  decision.”

But the bank faced huge criticism at today’s meeting. Kieran Quinn, chairman of the Local Authority Pension Fund which represents funds totalling £120 billion, said: “There have been significant concerns expressed by LAPF over governance and executive remuneration at Barclays for some time now. It appears that a continuing series of no votes by institutional shareholders is one of the few options open for meaningful engagement at Barclays.”

Walker told the meeting that he fully understood shareholders’ concerns particularly over remuneration. He told them: “Management is here to serve shareholders not the other way round.”

Outside the meeting at the Royal  Festival Hall protesters from the World Development Movement were dressed as eagles, riding Barclays Boris bikes and carrying coal in their cycle baskets with placards reading “Barclays: Stop bankrolling coal”.

They claimed that Barclays has  provided £3.1 billion to the coal  industry since 2005, which has driven climate change. Another protester, David Hillman from the Robin Hood Tax campaign, urged action to tackle poverty and said:“It is stomach-churning to think that in the five scandal- ridden years since the crisis Barclays has doled out such grotesque  levels of pay to their privileged few.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor