Barclays sparks anger over bonuses
Barclays was accused of ignoring anger over bonuses and running "business as usual" as it revealed a £1.5 billion pot for investment bankers.
A 32% cut to the bonus pool at Barclays Capital in 2011 was in line with a 32% fall in profits at the investment arm and did not signal the change required, major shareholder group the Association of British Insurers (ABI) warned.
Providing more disclosure on bonuses in its annual results than previously, the bank said the average bonus for staff at Barclays Capital was cut by 30% to £64,000 in 2011 while the group's total bonus pool was down 25% at £2.2 billion.
However, chief executive Bob Diamond refused to be drawn on questions about his own bonus, amid reports he could be in line to receive a £3 million payout.
Robert Talbut, ABI investment committee chairman, said: "Whilst overall bonus levels at Barclays have been reduced, for Barclays Capital, this reduction is only in line with the fall in profit before tax. This appears to be very close to business as usual.It is not the signal of the change required in order to improve the investment case."
In response, Mr Diamond said: "We stay close with our shareholders and they are very supportive."
Addressing the wider issue of bonuses, the American banker said: "We need to balance remaining competitive with being responsive to the public mood."
The bank's moves to cap and slash bonuses were not enough to appease unions and anti-poverty campaigners as "serious questions exist about the moral backbone of those running the financial service sector".
The results come after weeks of conflict over bankers' bonuses, in which Royal Bank of Scotland chief Stephen Hester turned down his £963,000 bonus amid mounting pressure and Lloyds boss Antonio Horta-Osorio waived his payout following a leave of absence. Asked if Mr Hester was right to waive his bonus given the current climate, Mr Diamond again refused to comment.
Barclays, which reported pre-tax profits of £5.9 billion for 2011, down 3% on the previous year, said it introduced a cap on the cash part of bonuses for investment bankers at £65,000.