Barclays boss Jenkins waives bonus amid new Qatari claims

Sunday, 03 February 2013 10:09

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Barclays new chief executive Antony Jenkins has decided to waive his bonus for 2012 to “avoid unnecessary public debate.”

He said that because of the "multiple issues of our own making besetting the bank”, it would be "wrong" for him to take a bonus for a year that could be described as Barclays "annus horibilis".

Even as he made his statements fresh allegations emerged over Barclays attempts to give a loan to Qatar to fund Barclays attempts to stave off the need for a state bailout at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

The Qataris were the main contributors to a £7.3 billion loan that allowed the bank to avoid a taxpayer bailout and retain its status as an independent bank, free from state control. Other shareholders in the bank complained that the Qatari's were given more generous terms on their loan.

The Serious fraud Office and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) are investigating claims that Barclays loaned the money for Qatar to buy shares in the bank. The allegation would be a serious offence under the 2006 Companies Act and could lead to criminal charges if it were found to be true.

Barclays admitted last July that four of its current or former mamagers were being investigated by the FSA over payments linked to Qatar's investment in Barclays. One of them is known to be Barclays' Chief Financial Officer Chris Lucas

His decision comes ahead of an appearance before a Treasury Select Committee (TSC) on banking standards next week. He will be quizzed by MPs over the scale of bonus the bank was planning to give him.

The Chancellor, George Osborne welcomed his decision and warned other banks to be "very sensible" about bonuses 

Mr Jenkins acknowledged that 2012 had been a “very difficult” year for Barclays which has included the bank receiving a £290 million fine for the manipulation of the Libor interbank lending rate, further provisions for payment protection insurance compensation and fines for the mis-selling of interest swap rates.

Even as he made his statements fresh allegations emerged over Barclays attempts to give a loan to Qatar to fund Barclays attempts to stave off the need for a state bailout at the height of trhe financial crisis in 2008.

The Qataris were the main contributors to a £7.3 billion loan that allowed the bank to avoid a taxpayer bailout. The Serious fraud Office and the Financial Services Authority are investigating claims that Barclays loaned the money for Qatar to buy shares in the bank.

It had been reported that Barclays were to offer Mr Jenkins a bonus worth up to 250 per cent of his £1.1 annual salary, potentially £2.75 million.

However, Mr Jenkins made it clear that he wants the focus to be on the rehabilitation of the bank rather than on the rights or wrongs of banker bonuses.

Chris Lucas, finance director of Barclays, and Rich Ricci, head of corporate and investment banking, have already given up their 2012 bonuses following the Libor scandal that saw former chief executive Bob Diamond resign.

There are no plans to cancel any other bonus payments and full details of the bonus payments will be published when Barclays announces its results on February 12th.

He said: “To avoid further unnecessary public debate on this matter, I wish to make clear that I concluded early this week that I do not wish to be considered for a bonus award for 2012 and I have communicated that decision to the Board.

“The year just past was clearly a very difficult one for Barclays and its stakeholders, with multiple issues of our own making besetting the bank.

"I think it only right that I bear an appropriate degree of accountability for those matters and I have concluded that it would be wrong for me to receive a bonus for 2012 given those circumstances.”

Earlier this week, the Barclays remuneration committee headed by Sir John Sunderland met to discuss bonus payments and remuneration packages for senior management. It is thought that Mr Jenkins told the remuneration committee of his decision at these meetings.

Mr Jenkins decision not to accept a bonus will add further pressure to other leading banks chief executives such as Antonio Horta-Osorio at part taxpayer-owned Lloyds Banking Group, not to accept any bonus they are offered.

HSBC boss, Stuart Gulliver has agreed to waive part of his bonus because of the $1.9b settlement with US authorities over money laundering allegations.

Stephen Hester, Chief Executive at the Royal Bank of Scotland has already said he will not be taking a bonus in 2012, partly due to the IT meltdown last summer that affected millions of RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank customers.

 

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