ISS urges Barclays shareholders to question board over Staley support

ISS urges Barclays shareholders to question board over Staley support

Proxy adviser ISS has mentioned shareholders ought to use Barclays upcoming annual assembly to query the board over its help of Jes Staley, its former chief govt that administrators continued to again regardless of revelations about his shut friendship with deceased intercourse offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Staley was CEO for nearly six years earlier than stepping down in November 2021, when British regulators disclosed preliminary findings of a probe into whether or not he was sufficiently clear in regards to the nature of his relationship with Epstein, who died by suicide in 2019.

On the time, the board mentioned it was “disenchanted at this consequence” and allowed Staley to depart with £2.4mn of his pay and substantial relocation bills, which some prime buyers opposed.

“The choice to help Staley within the interval between the demise of Epstein and Staley’s resignation will draw scrutiny,” ISS mentioned in a report on Monday. “There are questions over the judgement exercised throughout this era, given the significantly disturbing nature of the costs towards Epstein, and their potential for reputational harm.”

Barclays’ annual normal assembly will likely be held in London on Might 3.

Chair Nigel Higgins has began to distance himself from his earlier place after a sequence of disclosures in US courtroom circumstances introduced by the US Virgin Islands and Epstein’s victims towards JPMorgan Chase, the place Staley used to run its personal financial institution.

The cache of emails from Staley’s time at JPMorgan embody unexplained references to “Snow White” and “Magnificence and the Beast”, whereas others include what the US Virgin Islands lawsuit describes as “images of younger ladies in seductive poses”.

In a letter final month, Higgins referred to as the allegations “severe and new” and mentioned he would “take into account additional motion as acceptable”.

ISS stopped wanting recommending votes towards any board members or Higgins, reasoning that it first wanted to see the outcomes of constant regulatory investigations.

The proxy adviser additionally flagged that it was not the primary scandal by which the board had caught by Staley. The report references a 2018 probe into Staley’s makes an attempt to find out the id of a whistleblower that resulted in a £642,000 fantastic.

“Staley had had earlier event to defend his moral conduct and the Board to research his behaviour,” ISS mentioned. “The query could possibly be requested: ‘Was the Board right in supporting Staley (i.e. not dismissing him) for a second time?’”

Earlier this month, fellow proxy shareholder adviser Glass Lewis instructed buyers to vote towards pay proposals for Barclays’ prime executives following a sequence of different scandals that has price the financial institution tons of of tens of millions in fines and settlements.

Barclays was hit with a penalty by regulators in September for unintentionally promoting $17.7bn of structured monetary merchandise for which it didn’t have authorisation. It settled for $361mn with the US Securities and Change Fee and put aside £450mn to compensate buyers, serving to drive down annual internet revenue 19 per cent.

It additionally put aside $200mn to settle a US regulatory probe into workers’ unauthorised use of messaging apps WhatsApp and Sign.

Glass Lewis mentioned a discount of govt pay by solely a mixed £1mn was inadequate punishment. The adviser particularly objected to long-term awards near £3mn that vested final yr for former chief monetary officer Tushar Morzaria, that means he was awarded greater than two-thirds of his potential pay bundle.

Barclays declined to remark.

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