Barclays Capital’s 9% Bonus Cut Attacked by U.K. Investors

Barclays Capital Cuts Bonus Pool 32% to 1.54 Billion Pounds
Barclays said full-year profit fell 16 percent as investment-banking revenue shrank by 22 percent. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Barclays Capital, the securities unit of Barclays Plc, cut the amount it paid to employees by 9 percent in 2011, drawing criticism from investors as investment banking profit shrank.

The unit gave employees an average of 203,750 pounds ($322,150), compared with 223,340 pounds in 2010 and 191,000 pounds in 2009, company filings show. The payments include salary, bonuses and pensions. The lender limited cash bonuses at 65,000 pounds and said it will cut remuneration for its top executives by almost half.

The cut “is not the signal of the change required in order to improve the investment case,” said Robert Talbut, investment committee chairman at the Association of British Insurers, whose members control 1.7 trillion pounds of equities. “This appears to be very close to business as usual.”

Barclays and other U.K. banks have been under pressure from investors and politicians to show restraint on pay after the U.K. economy contracted in the fourth quarter and unemployment rose to a 16-year high. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester last month waived his bonus after the U.K. opposition Labour Party said it would ask Parliament to vote on the award. Barclays CEO Robert Diamond declined to comment on the size of his bonus today.

Discretionary awards at Barclays Capital fell 30 percent to an average 64,000 pounds in 2011, while base pay rose 6 percent to about 139,750 pounds in the period, Barclays said.

‘So Much Pressure’

“There’s been so much pressure exerted on them that they’ve had to make a move,” said Paul Mumford, who manages 650 million pounds at Cavendish Asset Management in London, including Barclays shares. “I would hope the bigger hit is on the obscene bonuses at the top, rather than the smaller ones at the bottom.”

Barclays, Britain’s third-biggest bank, said full-year profit fell 16 percent as investment-banking revenue shrank. Net income for 2011 fell to 3 billion pounds from 3.56 billion pounds a year earlier at the London-based bank. That was lower than the 3.27 billion-pound median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Barclays Capital allocated 4.89 billion pounds for pay, bonuses and pensions for the 24,000 employees at Barclays Capital in 2011, down from 5.54 billion pounds split between 24,800 employees for 2010.

Annual pay for executive directors and the eight highest-paid senior executives will decline 48 percent, the lender said.

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