Barclays directors oppose activist investor’s attempts to join board

Barclays bosses have opposed the appointment of activist investor Edward Bramson to the bank’s board, ahead of a meeting next month.

Mr Bramson, who holds a 5.5% stake in Barclays through his investment vehicle Sherborne, has been an outspoken critic of the firm and has called for its corporate and investment banking arm to be shrunk.

In a statement issued to the market on Thursday afternoon, Barclays directors said that a strategic haul was not what the company needs.

They also said that shareholders should vote against the appointment of Mr Bramson to the board.

“We have engaged with Mr Bramson and will continue to do so.

“However, as Sherborne acknowledges, Mr Bramson does not need to be on the Board to make his observations and suggestions known to Barclays.

“His prior investments and our engagement with him suggest he would be a disruptive and uncollaborative influence on the Board.”

The board also said Mr Bramson did not have the appropriate banking experience and that his interests were not aligned with the wider shareholder base.

Barclays chairman John McFarlane said the directors agreed with Mr Bramson that the corporate and investment banking arm has underperformed, but that “disruption to the proper functioning of the Board” was not the solution.

“Instead, we should continue with the work in hand and deliver what is in the interests of our shareholders as a whole, which is higher and appropriate returns, without unnecessary distraction from our strategy.”

In a letter to sent to fellow investors earlier this week, Mr Bramson said that if Barclays continues on its existing course, it would represent a “real threat that more new capital will need to be raised” to fund the under-fire division.

“We believe that any new capital invested in the corporate and investment bank is almost certain to cause an immediate destruction of shareholder value,” Mr Bramson wrote.

The annual meeting will take place on May 2, when shareholders will vote on whether to appoint Mr Bramson to the board.