April 27 - Over a quarter of shareholders casting votes voiced opposition to the remuneration report of British bank Barclays, as investors expressed discontent over the 17 million pounds pay package handed to CEO Bob Diamond last year. Ciara Sutton reports.
A stormy day of annual shareholder meetings for both Credit Suisse and Barclays. Over a quarter of shareholders in both banks voted against pay plans, as investors vented their fury at executive pay deals. Amid heckles, Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius apologised for not communicating the pay policy properly in the past. But he was continually jeered at during his speech to a packed hall of around 2000 shareholders. They say the size of executive pay is the issue, rather than how the information is communicated. Although the remuneration ultimately did get the go-ahead, the level of discontent could prove embarrassing for the bank. David Stredder is a long term investor in the bank. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BARCLAYS SHAREHOLDER, DAVID STREDDER, SAYING: "The banks obviously have changed considerably since I invested first in them, and I think the vast majority of investors are concerned about the risks that have been taken, and the payment of not just the directors, but also the staff just below directors who have gained a lot from the risks that it's taken and have had very high remuneration." Barclays paid out 660 million pounds in dividends last year, while its bonus pot for investment bank staff was 1.5 billion pounds. And across the bank it paid 2.5 billion in "performance costs." Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond's pay has also come under scrutiny. He took home 17 million pounds last year despite describing the company's profitability as "unacceptable". The bank last week tweaked his award after investors voiced their anger. Agius announced in the meeting that the bank will increase the dividend shareholders receive, helping lift Barclays shares in afternoon trade. Ciara Sutton, Reuters.