BARCLAYS investment banking chief Rich Ricci picked up a £17.6 million windfall yesterday after the bank handed out huge share awards to executives.
In total, some £38.5m of shares were awarded to nine directors and senior staff under the share payments, which were for deferred annual bonus payouts from previous years and long-term incentive schemes.
The timing of the announcement on the same day as the Budget raised eyebrows, although Barclays said it planned the release months before the Chancellor set his date.
Ricci sold a 5.7 million tranche of shares given to him by the bank for previous annual bonuses and long-term incentive schemes, despite waiving a bonus for 2012.
Chief executive Antony Jenkins, who also agreed not to take a bonus for last year, sold half of the 1.8 million shares he was awarded, worth £5.6m in total.
Barclays said the sale of shares by Jenkins was made to meet tax liabilities on the award.
Finance director Chris Lucas received £1.23m worth of shares and cashed in just over half.
The share awards were likely to stoke further controversy over pay deals at the bank following its Libor rate- rigging scandal and mis-selling controversies.
Sarah Wilson, chief executive of corporate government consultancy Manifest, said that while the payouts were under historic schemes, shareholders would question “what the board had been thinking” to enable such large awards.
“Investors will no doubt ask whether they have been well served by that,” she said.
A spokesman for Barclays said: “The share releases detailed in this announcement include deferred shares awarded from previous years’ annual performance bonuses and, in some cases, vesting of historical long-term incentive plans where the agreed performance conditions for vesting have been met.
“As was stated in the 2012 annual report published on 8 March, Barclays has revised its remuneration policy and all future incentive awards, short and long-term, will be based on the new principles that have been set out.”
Details of the share awards come after Barclays revealed in its annual report earlier this month that 428 workers were paid more than £1m each last year. Five got more than £5m, despite a year of scandal and falling profits.The report also highlighted a widening pay gap at the bank as it showed there were more than 71,500 staff who received less than £25,000 last year.
Last month Jenkins unveiled what was described as a cultural revolution under which the group will shrink its investment bank, slash 3,700 jobs and wipe £1.7 billion off costs.
Jenkins said the strategic overhaul was meant to clean up Barclays and drive longer-term earnings following a torrid year that included the Libor- fixing and payment protection insurance mis-selling scandals.
The job cuts will include 1,800 in corporate and investment banking and 1,900 in European and retail activities.
Its investment bankers would receive an average bonus of £54,100 for 2012, down 17 per cent on 2011.
Bonuses across the bank will total £1.85bn, down 14 per cent on the year. Shares dipped 2.3p to close at 295.2p.
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