Barclays adds to litigation provisions; profits rise

Barclays Canary Wharf

Barclays delivered pre-tax profit for last year that beat market expectations, as it set aside more money for potential fines.

Adjusted pre-tax profit increased by 12 percent in 2014 to £5.5 billion ($8.46 billion), compared to the year before, beating estimates of £5.3 billion in a Reuters poll. Despite the uptick in pre-tax profit, the British lender actually reported a net loss (after tax) of £174 million for the year, compared to net profit of £540 million in 2013.

The bank also said that total adjusted operating expenses fell by 9 percent, with credit impairment charges sliding 29 percent.

A provision of £1.25 billion was put aside for "ongoing investigations" and potential litigation relating to its foreign exchange operations, Barclays said. This included an additional £750 million put aside in the last quarter of 2014.

Many other lenders have settled or resolved similar issues, but an ongoing probe by a New York banking regulator means that Barclays has yet to fully realize any potential fines .

"We remain focused on addressing outstanding conduct issues," CEO Antony Jenkins said in the report on Tuesday. "I regard the behavior at the center of these investigations as wholly incompatible with our values, and I share the frustration of colleagues and shareholders that matters like these continue to cast a shadow over our business."

The bank's bonus pool was reduced by 47 percent, the bank said in its earnings - an average reduction of 17 percent per employee. Jenkins was awarded a bonus of £1.1 million. Its dividend for shareholders was kept at 6.5 pence per share for 2014.

Meanwhile, other British banking giants' earnings painted a less-than-rosy picture of the industry this month .

HSBC 's profits fell to a worse-than-expected $18.7 billion in 2014, hit by difficult Asian trading and geopolitical tensions.

While Royal Bank of Scotland reported an annual loss of £3.47 billion ($5.39 billion) in 2014, after booking a £4 billion writedown in the value of its U.S. offshoot Citizens.

-CNBC's Catherine Boyle contributed to this article.

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