Barclays announced Bob Diamond’s pay package this morning when it filed its annual report. As expected, the news media is pouncing on not only the bonus, but the bank’s poor performance and regulatory woes. Here’s the FT’s take:
“While overall pay is lower this year – largely because of a sharp fall in profits at Barclays’ investment banking division – it is nevertheless likely to stir up the debate around banker bonuses.
“The revelations follow a difficult few weeks for Barclays, which was blocked from implementing two “highly abusive” tax schemes that could have cost the Treasury £500m.
“Mr Diamond was also forced to admit that the bank’s performance in 2011 – his first year as chief executive – was “unacceptable”. He delayed key profitability targets amid tough economic conditions and higher than expected regulatory costs.”
And a harsher piece from the Daily Mail:
“Diamond’s huge pay comes despite a fall the bank’s profits, a row over tax avoidance schemes, and a vicious outcry over excessive salaries at a time when many families are struggling with their bills and mortgages.”
The Barclays board can set compensation however it wishes. I’m not making a judgement about their decision, but pointing out that by stringing this news along, Barclays has endured a nearly constant drubbing in the press and the bogosphere. That’s simply not good business.
(See my earlier comment on Barclays’ woeful communication strategy here.)