In an effort to stave off further banker-bashing from politicians and the press, Barclays's Chief Executive Bob Diamond and Finance Director Chris Lucas are to link half of their 2011 bonuses to the bank's future returns performance.
Diamond and Lucas - awarded all-share bonuses in respect of their 2011 performance which are fully deferred over three years - have both "volunteered" to have 50% of their bonuses subjected to the condition that Barclays's return on equity (RoE) exceeds its cost of equity. If it does not, in either of the three years when the awards are due to be paid, then the potential pay out linked to that respective year will lapse.
The company said that the returns produced last fiscal year were "unacceptable on an absolute basis, even though they were strong on a relative basis", and continues to take measures to improve returns. The bank says it is committing to achieving a 13% RoE as soon as possible.
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"It will take time to reach this target given: the current economic headwinds, particularly in Europe; the extra capital the business is required to hold by UK authorities; legacy positions; the need to accommodate further incremental regulatory costs; implementation of Basel III and our commitment not to increase gearing," the statement said.
Once achieved, the bank said that the 13% RoE target will allow dividends to rise to levels "much higher than today". The group paid a full-year dividend of six pence per share in respect of the 2011 fiscal year, compared with the 11.5p per share paid out in 2008 and the 34p-per-share dividend in 2007.
"Barclays is fully committed to ensuring that a greater proportion of income and profits flow to shareholders notwithstanding that it operates within the constraints of a competitive market," the company said today.
By 14:35 in London, shares were trading down 1.01% at 212.09p.
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