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Barclays' boss told to 'tone down' his bonus

Barclays' chief executive Bob Diamond is advised not to become a 'lightning rod' over banker bonuses.

Barclays' boss told to 'tone down' his bonus

An unidentified top 10 shareholder in Barclays (BARC.L) has called on the bank's chief executive Bob Diamond to 'tone down' his bonus following his refusal last week to say what it would be.

According to the Sunday Times the leading shareholder said: 'Bob Diamond is clearly doing a good job, but Barclays' senior people have paid themselves very well for a number of years and in the current environment he would do well to tone it down.'

The comment comes after the bank revealed on Friday that it would slash overall bonus payments at the bank by a quarter to £2.5 billion and that total bonuses for top executives would be almost halved. However, details of what Diamond and other directors will get is not being announced until the bank's annual report is published next month.

The anonymous commments to the Sunday Times reveal the anxiety in the City on the issue following the controversy over Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L)'s chief executive Stephen Hester, who was forced to drop his near £1 million share bonus after initially accepting it.

Another institutional investor told the paper: 'We have been saying, "Don't make yourself a lightning rod. You have to try to help yourself with the publicity whether you like it or not."'

Critics have pointed out that although bonuses at Barclays Capital are being cut by a third, this is merely in line with the slump in profits at the investment banking division that Diamond used to run. Diamond received total bonuses of £6.5 million in 2010, his last year in charge of Barclays Capital.

'This appears to be very close to business as usual,' said Robert Talburt, chairman of the investment committee at the Association of British Insurers. 'It is not the signal of the change required to improve the investment case at the bank.'

Barclays' profits fell 3% to £5.9 billion last year. The proportion of pre-tax profits spent on bonuses fell to 28% from 33% in 2010.

Shares in Barclays rose 1.5% or 3.5p to 237p in early trading this morning.

12 comments so far. Why not have your say?

metin mentesh

Feb 13, 2012 at 09:05

What are they getting these bonuses for in any case ?

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Johnny Boy

Feb 13, 2012 at 10:49

Doing their jobs of course. It's strange that the rest of us manage to do ours at all isn't it?

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Feb 13, 2012 at 12:36

There is some miss understanding of bonuses at this level. Bonuses are contracted like a salary, and are different to lower level workers bonus. For example some one on £20k a year might get a bonus of £2k if they out perform, over deliver and the company as a whole does well. If this employee had a similar contract and bonus calculation as the top level, their Salary would be around £8k and if they did what they where meant to they would get a £12k bonus, and if they did really well they would get more. Top brass use this to get around Taxes, which is why in some circumstances they are on as little as £1 per year salart..

This is the problem with trying to remove these bonuses from the top exec’s. In contract law, the term ‘Bonus’ is just a term for a part of their salary, that is not Awarded to them until the end of the year, when they can see how well the company has done. This becomes the sticking point.. has the company performed…….

With regards to State owned banks, we the tax payer are paying these bonuses, we have no choice in the matter, all we have to do is hope our gov do something about it. Also if a bank is state owned, we expect them to do what the state wants with regards to lending etc…. With regards to other banks, they are can basically do what they want…. If I had a company, I would not let someone who is not a share holder

to have a say in how I ran it….. If you don’t like a bank nothing is stopping you from using them…..

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Feb 13, 2012 at 12:40

But thats not saying I agree with their salaries, and if they were at the helm of a failed business or failing business they should have all money with held....

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Feb 13, 2012 at 13:33

As a Barclays shareholder, I think bob diamond is worth every penny he is paid, which currently is around what a premiership football manager gets, and far less than many of the overpaid players.

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David Harvey

Feb 13, 2012 at 13:47

It really does seem when we see these bonuses that the only reason for the austerity policies around the world is to protect things like corporate tax loop holes, boardroom salaries and bonuses and the wealthy in general. We may well baulk at what we see in Greece but when you see the way the wealthy have just walked away from paying tax for so long surely the peoples frustration is understandable.

Many, and I don't just mean public sector ( don't forget the 2 private sector jobs that go for every 1 from public ) have done a great often unsung . For that, they have taken truly massive abuse for years now, not bonuses.

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Feb 13, 2012 at 15:08

Entrepreneurs and Private company owners can reap considerable rewards when they succed but can loose their all when their businesses fail. Corporate managers help themselves to huge additions to their salaries when the company they lead succeeds whether it is due to their leadership or not. Why should they be in a position to avoid redress for their failure and shareholders take the hit? As they fix it so that they gain financially when things apparently go 'Right' It is only just that they they should loose financially when things apparently go 'Wrong!' Any reward for perceived immediate 'success' should be withheld for five years after the event to determine if the improvement was of a long term nature or just a flash in a short term plan or just serendipity!

It should be observed that all of our present economic problems are due to the mismanagement of individuals who were highly rewarded because of their pretended or presumed expertise. And blow me down......Most of them are still in office! Will we never learn?

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Feb 13, 2012 at 15:10

I do not understand this British obsession on banker's bonuses. There were a few reasons why RBS & Lloyds were rescued and one of the reasons is to protect the savers like you & me, even though these banks were not worthy to be rescued. As a private enterprise, they should been left to survive on their own or sold off like any private companies except that there would have been too many casualties if they were left to their own demise.

As far as other banks are concerned, they are private enterprises and do not have to answer to you and me, other than their share holders, so when everyone jumps on the bandwagon, I do not know what their objective is. If bankers are paid well, then gorvenment gets more tax revenue, unlike Greece where there is a lot of black market operation on every level. At least, the bankers are transparent on what they get and pay tax promtly which will be ploughed back into all levels of this country where it is needed desparately.

If you own a company of your own, would you like to answer to the public?? Even public emploees do not do so!

If you are so desparate to bash someone off, how about some of the footballers who does not behave?? Some of the football clubs are also so in debt, these footballers salarys look like a joke to me. At least, these bankers do create wealth, if they don't then they will be sacked tomorrow.

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David Harvey

Feb 13, 2012 at 15:16

I wonder if Thatcher would have declared the banks as lame ducks as she was so fond of doing to everyone else.

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Roger Wood

Feb 13, 2012 at 16:36

I think that one of the problems is that the savers’ are getting very little interest on their savings but the bankers are still getting large bonuses and they are using our money to do so. We all like to see our banks do well but if large bonuses are being paid then savers’ in that bank should also be paid a bonus, above the interest they already get, on the money that is in that bank.

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Bill lawson

Feb 13, 2012 at 19:04

This a bit like fingers in the till, not n very noticeable when profits are high but could bankrupt when not

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Anthony Tinslay

Feb 13, 2012 at 23:12

Some of the comments about bonuses relate to tax 'lost' to the Gov't. Strange really. In Barclays report they are paying for 2011 just under £2bn corporation tax plus the Bank levy of £347m. If the bonus pool is £2.1bn apart from other incentives of £450m then the tax to the individuals is going to be in the region of another £1bn or so. Overall that is a pretty substantial source of revenue for the Gov't. Not, I suggest, to be knocked.

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