Barclays promises angry investors to crack down on pay

Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:16am EDT
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By Steve Slater

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L: Quote) promised a rigorous review of executive pay on Thursday, as shareholders at the bank's annual meeting said they remain unconvinced that big bonus payouts will be abandoned by its new bosses as part of a new ethical drive.

Chief Executive Antony Jenkins, drafted in last year to tear up Barclays' profits-at-all-costs culture, told shareholders it would take time for them to see the benefits of his multi-billion-pound overhaul.

But evidence of patience was thin on the ground among about 700 shareholders attending the bank's annual meeting in London's Royal Festival Hall.

"'Go-To' bank? Go to hell Barclays. I don't understand why anyone needs 1 million pounds and anyone who asks for more is a greedy bastard. The banks have brought us down, brought the whole economy down," said Joan Woollard, 75, from Lincolnshire, who said she bought five shares to attend the AGM.

Her comments were applauded and echoed by others.

Jennifer Cramer, a small investor, said talk of pay restraint at previous AGMs was shown to be "a sham" when director Alison Carnwath, former head of the bank's remuneration committee, quit last year after disagreeing with the rest of the board on the bonus for Jenkins's predecessor Bob Diamond.

Jenkins has promised to overhaul Barclays' standards and culture to make it the 'Go-To' bank of choice and develop a more open relationship with regulators and customers. Its once venerable brand has been dented by scandals over rate-fixing, product mis-selling and big bonuses and forced Diamond's exit.

Institutional investors are broadly supportive of Jenkins's plans and the bank's pay resolution passed easily at the AGM. The bank said 5.3 percent of shareholders voted against its pay resolution, down from 26.9 percent a year ago.   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