Barclays told to rein in pay, tighten controls

Wed Apr 3, 2013 9:47am EDT
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By Matt Scuffham

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L: Quote) needs to rein in pay for top staff and tighten control of its operations to repair its reputation after a string of scandals, a report commissioned by the lender said on Wednesday.

In what Britain's second largest bank described as "uncomfortable reading", the review said the group's rapid transformation from domestic retail lender to global universal bank created a sprawling set of businesses with their own culture and an emphasis on profit, sometimes at all costs.

Investment banking leaders were ambiguous about right and wrong, the report said.

"There was a very short-term focus on profit which led to a problem with culture and values," Anthony Salz, a veteran lawyer who wrote the 236-page report at Barclays's invitation, told Reuters.

"It appeared to emphasize financial performance rather than looking after customers. That was reinforced by the pay structures."

"If Barclays is to achieve a material improvement in its reputation, it will need to continue to make changes to its top levels of pay so as to reflect talent and contribution more realistically, and in ways that mean something to the general public."

The rock 'n' roll style rewards earned by top investment bankers at Barclays prompted an outcry among austerity-weary Britons last year after the bank was fined $450 million for its role in manipulating global benchmark interest rates.

Barclays hired Salz, who is vice-chairman of investment bank Rothschild, to review its culture and business practices after the rate rigging scandal.   Continued...

The logo of Barclays bank is seen at its office in the Canary Wharf business district of London April 1, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Helgren