Barclays chief under fire for bonus payout
Barclays chief executive, Bob Diamond, faced a grilling from MPs today over his reported £8 million bonus.
The Treasury Select Committee, who questioned Mr Diamond, asked whether he would waive his bonus for a third year.
Mr Diamond responded: “I haven’t been offered a bonus, that’s a decision that will be taken by the remuneration committee in the next few weeks.”
Bonuses have been a major issue for some time now and have sparked public outrage since many argued that excessive bankers’ bonuses reward the risk-taking culture that led to the financial crisis.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has already urged bankers to “sensitive to the public mood”.
Mr Diamond said: “We are sensitive, we are listening [to calls for restraint], and there is no lack of effort in recognising the importance of this issue and being responsible [over bonuses]” adding that the bank had “no intention of paying more in bonuses than is necessary”.
Fifty-nine year old Diamond, who assumed the chief executive role on 1 January, also told MPs the “period of remorse and apology” for banks needed to be over.
Meanwhile, he also defended Barclays’ lending levels, highlighting that: “In 2009, we lent £35 billion more [than the previous year] and in 2010 we lent £35 billion more again in the first nine months alone.”
Finally, he confirmed the bank’s intention to maintain its base in London.
Some banks have hinted that they are looking to free themselves from stricter regulations by relocating, these include the bank levy and the clampdown on bonuses.