Barclays to say sorry to shareholders

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Barclays chairman Marcus Agius
Barclays chairman Marcus Agius listens as France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon delivers his keynote address at Guildhall in London Photo: Reuters

Barclays bank is preparing for a showdown with shareholders tomorrow over executive pay this morning.

ITV News has learned that to try to calm the atmosphere, the bank's chairman is to apologise for mishandling pay awards.

But we have also learned that the business secretary is getting involved, with Vince Cable urging shareholders to vote against big bonuses.

After weeks of pressure building on Barclays, tomorrow, the chairman, Marcus Agius will apologise to shareholders for the bank's mishandling of the pay of its top executives.

In the face of a revolt from shareholders, he's likely to accept that the bank has not done a good enough job of making its case, acknowledging failures and will say sorry.

He's also expected to promise that shareholders will get a better return on their cash in future, and that thebank has to do more to shift the balance of rewards from its top brass to its shareholders.

I've been able to see a part of Mr Agius' speech in which he'll say:

Evidently, we have not done a good enough job in articulating our case: on some matters we should have communicated earlier and more clearly. For this I apologise and I assure you that in the future we will be engaging differently and more purposefully with shareholders in order to ensure that we obtain a broader level of support on remuneration policy and practice.

– Barclays chairman Marcus Agius

In other words, we got it wrong, I'm sorry, and I promise not to make the same mistakes again, so you won't make our lives as difficult next time.

But there is no sign of any further moves from the bank to take further action to change the pay deals for this year, whether Bob Diamond's bonus, or the controversial 'tax equalisation' payment he has been given.

Most shareholders will have cast their votes already, only a handful will actually cast theirs at the meeting tomorrow.

So the apology may be welcomed by many, but it's probably too late to make much difference to the size of the rebellion.