Week ahead: Barclays faces pay questions at AGM

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Barclays is centre-stage again this week as it kicks off first-quarter updates from the banking sector alongside what threatens to be a stormy AGM for the bank.

Less than a month after promising a sharp overhaul of remuneration practices, Barclays revealed that more than 400 staff were paid more than £1 million last year and nine executives received share packages worth a combined £40m.

Shareholder body Pirc will oppose the group’s pay plans at Barclays’ AGM on Thursday, which follows the bank’s first-quarter trading update on Wednesday.

Pirc said the long-term incentive scheme awards were excessive for chief executive Antony Jenkins and finance director Chris Lucas, despite decisions to waive annual bonuses.

Jenkins received a £2.6m total pay package last year, including a £1.5m long-term incentive bonus if he meets performance targets.

The most-recent boardroom shake-up at Barclays saw investment banking boss Rich Ricci and the head of its wealth and investment arm, Tom Kalaris, announce they are leaving this summer.

Analysts at Credit Suisse are pencilling in a 6 per cent drop in first quarter profits to £2.2 billion, excluding restructuring charges.

Retail tycoon Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International will reveal whether it maintained impressive sales growth when it updates on Wednesday.

Sports Direct reported a 21 per cent jump in sales in its third quarter to 27 January. But the company has already said it is certain to meet its earnings target for the year to 30 April of £270m.

A tie-up with former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff and higher online sales are expected to ensure further resilient trading at catalogue chain N Brown.

A consensus of analysts ­expect N Brown to post pre-tax profits of £96m on Wednesday for the year to the start of March, similar to the £96.9m a year earlier.

Budget fashion retailer Primark’s stellar growth story looks set to drive a further profits leap at parent Associated British Foods when it posts half-year results tomorrow.

An impressive winter performance from Primark saw the clothing chain’s total sales rise 23 per cent during the six months to the start of March.