Barclays: bonuses up, profits down

Barclays announced a 33% drop in pre-tax profits to £5.2bn for 2013. The drop reflects various legal provisions, a restructuring programme that will involve the loss of 12,000 jobs and a 37% decline in investment banking profits. Barclays’ peers have also struggled.

Despite the poor results, the bonus pool grew by 10% to £2.4bn. The results followed the news that more than 2,000 customers had had their personal details stolen.

What the commentators said

Barclays has spent £5.5bn on provisions for mis-selling payment protection insurance and interest-rate swaps in recent years, said Andrew Peaple in The Wall Street Journal. Another £330m of legal provisions were added to the ledger last quarter.

The latest customer data theft could also prove pricey. Throw in this week’s leak that forced the bank to release results early, and Barclays looks “too accident-prone an institution to be worthy of customer – or investor – trust”.

The executives’ greed doesn’t help, said Chris Blackhurst in The Independent. The old canard about banks being in a global market for talent, and so obliged to pay its people ridiculous sums to stop them defecting to rivals, was trotted out again.

Well, so good is Barclays’ talent that it contributed to a 37% drop in Barclays’ investment-banking division. Nor has Barclays, or any other bank, ever explained where “all these gaping vacancies” at rival banks actually are.

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