Investor group in Barclays pay call
A rebellion over pay at Barclays has gathered pace after a leading investor group said the bank's boss should not receive "any bonus at all".
Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (Pirc) has advised its members to vote against the bank's remuneration report, which includes plans to award chief executive Bob Diamond an overall package of pay and bonuses worth £17.7 million.
Pirc's guidance will heap more pressure on Barclays following reports that holders of more than 10% of the company's shares are already planning to vote against the bank's pay proposals. Barclays is set for a stormy annual meeting on April 27, with a £5.7 million tax payment made on Mr Diamond's behalf having sparked particular anger among investors.
Pirc also suggested the bank should be considering copying Lloyds by clawing back some of the bonuses it has paid out because of its part in the scandal surrounding the mis-selling of payment protection insurance.
Pirc's report said: "In view of the fact that Barclays' shares are trading far below net asset value, we cannot think of any circumstances in which a chief executive who was part of a team when the bank got into that predicament should be receiving any bonus at all.
"Indeed, the board should also be considering claw-backs itself.
"Although the bank has not failed in the classic sense, trading at below net asset value is an investment failure from the perspective of the shareholders."
Pirc hit out at the £5.7 million tax payment to Mr Diamond when he moved from the US to London to take the role of chief executive, saying that any difference in tax should be included in the going rate for the job.
Standard Life, Fidelity, Aviva and Scottish Widows - which account for 6.45% of the share register - are believed to be preparing to vote against the bank's remuneration report or the re-election of Alison Carnwath, the chairman of the bank's remuneration committee.
Barclays is reported to have held a series of meetings with investors in which it has argued that the bank needs to maintain its pay levels if it is to remain in the global top tier of investment banks.