Barclays bats off Bramson as activist investor concedes defeat

Barclays has scored a victory against activist investor Edward Bramson, who has conceded defeat in his attempt to gain a seat on the British bank’s board.

Mr Bramson – whose investment vehicle Sherborne Investors owns a 5.5% stake in Barclays – had been trying to muscle his way on to the top table, while also calling on the lender to curtail its investment arm and increase returns for investors.

Shareholders will vote on whether to appoint the New York-based activist to the board on Thursday at the Barclays annual meeting, but his campaign had gained little traction with investors.

Mr Bramson has now conceded that he does not have enough support, and signalled that he will give the bank’s new chairman, Nigel Higgins, time to stamp his authority on the lender.

Sherborne will retain its stake in Barclays.

Advisory groups Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis had recommended investors vote down Mr Bramson’s election to the board, and Barclays bosses were also scathing of the attempt.

However, the lender is still expected to come under fire over pay for top bosses amid a scandal that saw chief executive Jes Staley attempt to unmask a whistleblower.

ISS recommended shareholders vote against the bank’s remuneration report as the measures taken by the remuneration committee did not go far enough after regulatory investigations and a 15 million US dollar (£11.5 million) fine by US authorities over the matter.

Jes Staley investigation
Barclays chief Jes Staley was fined £642,430 by the Financial Conduct Authority over his attempt to unmask a whistleblower (Debra Hurford Brown/Barclays/PA).

Mr Staley was also personally fined £642,000 by UK watchdogs, while the bank clawed back £500,000 of previous bonuses following investigations into the affair.

The group reduced its overall bonus pool by £290 million to £1.6 billion for 2018 due to conduct charges, although it was higher than the £1.5 billion shared out among staff for 2017.

The bank’s annual report in February revealed that Mr Staley was still paid a total of £3.4 million for 2018, down from £3.9 million in 2017, while he received an annual bonus of £1.1 million for last year.

Read Full Story