Top brass at RBS set to be quizzed by politicians

Current and former top executives at the taxpayer-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland will today be grilled by politicians, less than a week after the bank was fined £391m for rigging the Libor interest rate.

Chief executive Stephen Hester will be in the spotlight after it was revealed he will shortly pick up a £780,000 share bonus. Even though he turned down his 2012 bonus, Hester will still collect the all-share bonus for his work during 2010 next month.

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards is expected to ask Hester whether that bonus is justified, given that enforcers last week said that Libor rigging went on at RBS from 2006 until November 2010. Hester took charge in September 2008, and is paid an annual salary of £1.2m. The Commission will also take evidence from John Hourican, head of markets at RBS, who resigned over the Libor affair, and from one of his predecessors Johnny Cameron, who was banned from working in the City after the £45bn taxpayer bailout.

Tomorrow, the focus will shift to Barclays as chief executive Antony Jenkins gives full details of his strategic review of the bank including the closure of its controversial tax avoidance division.

Despite a £290m fine for Libor rigging and last week's £1bn increase in the amount is has set aside for mis-selling payment protection insurance and interest rate swaps, Barclays is expected to reveal that profits grew from £5.6bn to £7.2bn last year.

Mr Jenkins will announce that he is axing the structured capital markets business, which advised corporate clients on how to reduce tax bills. He will also cut out some areas of "soft" commodities trading.

Mr Jenkins, who took over from Bob Diamond in the autumn after the American resigned over the Libor scandal, will not close the investment bank formerly known as BarCap. But reports say as many as 2,000 jobs could go.

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