Barclays is planning to cut bonuses for investment bankers as it steps up its defence against activist investor Edward Bramson ahead of next week's annual meeting, the Financial Times reported.
Bonuses for the first quarter at the investment-bank division may decline by double digits from a year earlier, the newspaper reported, citing people it didn't identify who were briefed on the plans. The payments will be more closely tied to performance as the London-based bank seeks to cut costs, the Financial Times said.
Barclays Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley, in charge since 2015, has pushed a strategy of expanding the firm's investment-banking operations -- a plan that has come under increased pressure since Bramson's Sherborne Investors began buying up shares and agitating for change. The division that houses trading and investment banking has the lowest return on equity, a measure of profit, of any unit at the UK bank.
The FT also said that the bank was considering taking a tougher stance on promotions. Last year 85 bankers were promoted in Barclays International, compared to 74 in 2017.
It is the latest in a series of moves by Barclays to fend off the British-born, New York-based Bramson, who is now Barclays's third-biggest investor after building up a 5.5% stake through his Sherborne Investors vehicle.
He is agitating for Barclays to shake up its corporate strategy and structure, including shrinking the investment banking business, refocusing on retail and improving returns. He has called on shareholders to back his campaign to be elected as a non-executive director on the bank's board at the annual general meeting on May 2.
However, leading shareholder advisory group, Glass Lewis, has told investors to oppose his bid for a seat on the board. Merian Global Investors' Richard Buxton, a leading investor in Barclays, said it would vote against Bramson's proposal.
Last month, the chief executive of Barclays, Jes Staley, took direct control of its investment bank and ousted head Tim Throsby in a surprise shake-up.
The board has already been through an overhaul, with a total of five directors either resigning or not seeking re-election. Outgoing chairman John McFarlane will be succeeded by Rothschild banker Nigel Higgins.