The pay row at Barclays shows no sign of abating. With less than 10 days to go before its annual meeting, the bank is urgently asking major investors what can be done to limit the level of dissent over the pay of chief executive Bob Diamond.
Chairman Marcus Agius has already been trying to reassure big City investors that Diamond's lucrative pay deals will start to reduce next year. But the bank seems to have concluded more needs to be done to head off an embarrassing revolt on 27 April.
It is not immediately clear how they could win round those investors who are signalling that they are thinking about voting against the remuneration report – not just because of a £5.7m tax bill for Diamond but also because of the scale of his rewards, which amounted to £17m in 2011 when long-term incentive plans from previous years paid out.
(Many of those Ltips and other such schemes are now falling away as they related to his time as head of the investment banking arm Barclays Capital.)
A third concern for investors is the way the bank distributes its spoils between capital, shareholders and bonuses for staff. Some shareholders reckon more is kept for bonuses than needs to be.
The size of the potential rebellion is still uncertain. Alison Carnwath, the non-executive who heads the remuneration committee, may also face embarrassment as some of the investors who revolt against the pay deals may also vote against her re-election to the board.
The situation remains fluid and investors may not decide until 48 hours before the AGM (or at least tell Barclays how they have voted). It remains to be seen how many investors are prepared to show their distaste of big pay for bankers. It was 10% at Barclays last year. But the mood appears to have changed in the US, where 55% of shareholders rejected Citigroup's plans to pay its chief executive, Vikram Pandit, $15m (£9.4m).
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