Barclays boss takes bonus despite £1.2bn fine

The Barclays chief executive said he believed it was 'appropriate' for him to accept his bonus

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Barclays’ chief executive Antony Jenkins is taking his first bonus since replacing Bob Diamond in 2012, despite the bank raising the amount it has set aside for fines related to alleged foreign exchange-market rigging by £750m.

Mr Jenkins saw his pay package jump from £1.6m to £5.5 m. In addition to the bonus, the package included £950,000 of so-called “role based” pay – widely seen as an attempt to get around the European Union’s cap on top bankers’ bonuses at 200 per cent of their base pay. In Mr Jenkins’ case, that was unchanged  at £1.1m.

The Barclays chief executive said he believed it was “appropriate” for him to accept his bonus, while revealing he was taxed on his worldwide income in the UK and in the US as a green-card holder. He also collected £1.9m from his 2012-14 long-term share bonus.

“I was only in charge for four months in 2012 and didn’t take a bonus. I decided it wasn’t appropriate to do so in 2013 after a large rights issue. In 2014, if you look at the significant progress we have made, I decided it was appropriate to take the bonus I was offered,” he said.

Mr Jenkins stoked further controversy when, in an interview with ITV, he called for an end to free bank accounts.

“Not having a price point, if you like, around the current account, was probably not helpful for consumers because it’s very hard to make a judgement about something when there’s no price attached to it. So broadly speaking, I think having a bank account that there is a price point for is a positive,” he said.

Mr Jenkins admitted that Barclays could lose business if it unilaterally took such a step and said it would need to be “regulated or legislated”. The Competition & Markets Authority is currently in the throes of an investigation into the current account market.

Barclays opted out of an overall settlement over the forex scandal last year when six rivals ended up paying a total of £2.6bn to settle with global regulators, choosing a “more co-ordinated settlement” – particularly in the US.

Barclays has set aside £1.25bn for the forex scandal, considerably more than rivals paid. JPMorgan and Citibank were each fined $1 bn (£650m).

Mr Jenkins said: “I share the frustration of colleagues and shareholders that matters like these continue to cast a shadow over our business.”

Adjusted profits – not including regulatory issues – rose 12 per cent to £5.5bn last year. That was slightly ahead of City forecasts  as costs came down faster and the High Street bank and Barclaycard performed strongly.

Mr Jenkins is cutting 14,000 staff, and has closed 71 branches in the last year.

Across the group, bonuses were down 22 per cent  at £1.9bn and in the investment bank down 24 per cent at £1.05bn. However, including “role-based pay”, they fell only 11 per cent.

Sir John Sutherland, chairman of the bank’s remuneration committee, said the bonus pool had been cut to reflect the likely forex fines.

Barclays has held its dividend for the year at 6.5p a share, which will cost it £1.1bn.