NEW YORK (Reuters) - Barclays Plc’s (BARC.L) new chief executive said he will pay employees based in part on whether they are good citizens, as the British bank tries to restore its tarnished reputation.
Within the next six to 12 months, Barclays will devise a “balance scorecard” with metrics that measure performance across a range of areas, including how the actions of executives affect the environment, Antony Jenkins said in a brief interview on Sunday at the Clinton Global Initiative.
Jenkins ascended to the top of Britain’s fourth-largest bank at the end of August after his controversial predecessor, Bob Diamond, and the bank’s chief operating officer, Jerry del Missier, were forced to resign following Barclay’s agreement in June to pay $450 million for rigging interest rates.
Jenkins, who previously ran Barclays’ business and retail banking division, said he managed the unit with a scorecard that rated employees on how their actions affected all stakeholders, including investors, customers, other employees and “society.” The scorecard includes a “citizenship” component, according to a bank spokesman.
A similar benchmark must be established at the Barclays Group level, Jenkins said, but declined to provide details about how short-term goals such as shareholder returns will be weighted against longer-term societal goals.
In formal remarks at the conference, Jenkins said Barclays has stepped up for a second three-year commitment of 10 million pounds to establish microfinance savings and loans businesses in Third World villages.
In establishing a clear agenda for employee performance, the bank will be able to “relentlessly pursue” its objectives, including “becoming a source of good for society,” he said during a presentation on environmental sustainability and social goals. The conference is run by a think tank started by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
“It is possible to get extremely depressed” listening to all the talk about global ills at such conferences, Jenkins said, because so many of them demand long-term solutions at odds with the short-term profitability of so many corporations. Barclays is adept at managing sustainability, but has “to do better” at managing short- against long-term goals, he added.
Paula Di Perna, a special adviser to the Carbon Disclosure Project, suggested that Barclays agree to finance “scale” ventures such as a brewery that Heineken International BV HEININ.UL is building in Haiti that was described by a fellow panelist. The plant will require processed rainwater as the Haitian beer’s main ingredient.
Jenkins was not asked to respond to the suggestion, but commented that the bank in recent years “became a bit short-term” in balancing sustainability goals. He pointedly added that in the divide between business and government “nothing is so short term as a politician up for election.”
Since becoming chief executive less than a month ago, Jenkins has pledged to “move quickly and be bold” in revamping businesses that are either inefficient or damaging to the bank’s reputation. He discarded Diamond’s goal of achieving a return on equity of at least 13 percent for one that simply beats the bank’s 11.5 percent cost of equity. He also dampened speculation that he would radically alter his predecessor’s emphasis on capital markets and investment banking, but otherwise provided few specifics about his plans.
At a banking conference earlier this month, however, the head of Barclays’ corporate and investment bank showed he had received Jenkins’ message on social responsibility. The bank will drop inappropriate businesses such as advising clients on ways to avoid taxes, “regardless of financial return,” Rich Ricci said.
Editing by Andre Grenon