Barclays trio in $110 million pay day

LONDON Mon Mar 7, 2011 2:16pm EST

The Chief Executive of Barclays Plc, Bob Diamond, leaves after attending a Treasury select committee hearing at Parliament in London January 11, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

The Chief Executive of Barclays Plc, Bob Diamond, leaves after attending a Treasury select committee hearing at Parliament in London January 11, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - New Barclays boss Bob Diamond and his two replacements as head of the investment banking arm were paid 28 million pounds ($45 million) last year, with the trio also receiving shares worth 40 million pounds for past performance.

After Britain's banks pledged to show more restraint on pay under a peace deal struck with the government last month, politicians and unions slammed the payouts at a time when public sector jobs and wages are facing cuts.

Diamond was paid a bonus of 6.5 million pounds for last year when he was head of Barclays Capital, the investment bank arm, before he became group chief executive officer (CEO) at the start of this year.

BarCap's new co-CEOs received bigger bonuses.

Jerry del Missier was paid 10.9 million pounds for last year and Rich Ricci received 10.6 million, Barclays said on Monday under pay disclosure rules required of UK banks.

The trio also received millions of shares under awards for their performances over the last five years.

Diamond received 2.1 million shares under the plans, worth 6.6 million pounds at current prices; del Missier received 5.1 million shares, worth 15.9 million pounds; and Ricci received 5.5 million shares, worth 17.3 million pounds. The awards were net of shares sold to pay taxes and other costs.

Stephen Williams, a politician who speaks for the coalition's junior Liberal Democrat party on finance, said the pay award was "obscene."

"The bankers collectively should be showing restraint at a tough time for everybody else. It is effectively saying we are in a different universe from the rest of you and we can carry on rewarding ourselves in this way why the rest of you all go and suffer," he told Reuters.

The pay deals came at a time of growing divergence between Britain and its bankers over restructuring the industry.

Barclays also said 231 of its top staff -- dubbed "Code staff" who are involved in risk-taking decisions -- were paid 504 million pounds for 2010, or an average of 2.2 million each.

TENSION SIMMERS

Barclays' pay details emerged two days after Bank of England Governor Mervyn King warned the problems that caused the financial crisis had not been fixed, criticizing a culture of short-term profits and bonuses.

Barclays said its pay awards were in accordance with pay commitments made under the "Project Merlin" deal.

Diamond, the Concord, Massachusetts-born son of two teachers, is one of the highest paid bankers in Europe and has often been a lightning rod for criticism in Britain of the industry's big pay awards.

He waived his bonus for 2009 and 2008 but was paid 21 million pounds for 2007 and was described last year by former senior UK politician Peter Mandelson as "the unacceptable face of banking."

The avid sports fan, 59, often draws parallels between sports and business and says he runs a meritocracy and rewards success.

Much of his wealth is in Barclays stock -- after the latest awards he owns 12.7 million shares, worth 40 million pounds.

His pay for 2010, which included a 250,000 base salary, was less than the 10 million pounds media reports had speculated he would receive. It was less than what he could have received amid continuing scrutiny of bankers' pay in the UK, a person familiar with the matter said.

His 2010 award will not include any upfront cash. It will consist of deferred shares and the rest in an instrument that is linked to Barclays' capital strength, as will much of del Missier's and Ricci's pay.

Barclays and its investment bank arm fared better than most rivals during the financial crisis and avoided taking taxpayer bailout cash.

Its profit rose 32 percent last year to 6.1 billion pounds, although top-line income at BarCap fell by a quarter after a tough year for capital markets activity.

John Varley, who stepped down as CEO at the start of this year, was paid 3.85 million pounds last year, including a 2.2 million pound bonus.

Last week UBS CEO Oswald Gruebel became the first head of a major bank to say he will forego his 2010 bonus after the wealth manager's share price fell.

HSBC said last week its new chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, was paid 6.2 million pounds for last year, when he ran its investment bank.

(Additional reporting by Tim Castle; Editing by David Cowell)

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