Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Barclays adds £1bn to cover its mis-selling provisions

Barclays has set aside another £1bn to cover mis-selling as MPs blasted the bank for having a "finger in the pie" of every scandal.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, bosses pledged a "material" cut in bonus pools to reflect the impact of the scandals, but would not provide details.

Andrew Tyrie, the MP who chairs the commission, said: "It doesn't matter what the scandal is, Barclays seems to have a finger in the pie. That's a pretty awful inheritance."

Chairman Sir David Walker admitted that it was "egregiously bad".

But he then sought to defend the bank's pay committee chairman, Sir John Sunderland. Sunderland told an earlier hearing that even with the benefit of hindsight he would have paid former boss Bob Diamond a bonus for the bank's "unacceptable" performance in 2011 that missed targets.

Tyrie said: "We find it hard to see that you hope to change the remuneration culture when the man in charge thinks there have not been mistakes."

He also questioned whether the bank could really change when many of the non-executive directors were in post as it became mired in scandal.

Walker insisted that the committee was "effective and well run" and declared himself "satisfied" with its performance.

He also fell back on the defence that the bank was in a competitive industry and risked seeing many of its top executives quit and go abroad. "We have to recognise that," he said.

He did, however, promise that there would be new non-executives added to the board in the coming months, as Barclays seeks to draw a line under the scandals which have dogged it. Walker has agreed to provide the commission with a new copy of an internal report on activities at Barclays Wealth America which attacked a flawed culture.

The bank's first submission of the report was covered in black marks, with even page numbers inked out. Chief executive Antony Jenkins sharply criticised what the company had become under his predecessors: "If I look across the group over 20 years there have been circumstances where we have been too short-term focused, too aggressive and too self-serving."

Jenkins will outline a new strategy on February 12.

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