Worlds collide: Shareholders heckle Barclays board

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Barclays sign
Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius has admitted the bank's bosses 'have not done a good enough job in articulating' their case over pay Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble

Watching the suited Barclays board face up to an audience of shareholders in raincoats and mainly in retirement is like watching two worlds collide. The crowd is not made up of people who are used to making a fuss. The board high up on the branded podium does not appear used to being held to account.

One shareholder has said that Bob Diamond is absolutely worth his multi-million pound pay package because he has added many hundreds of millions of pounds of value to the business.

But the majority of the questions and answers suggest a yawning gap between the board who repeat again the need to pay competitively to get the best staff, and most of the audience who plainly just do not accept that levels of pay are remotely reasonable when the bank is not performing as well as it might.

Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond
One shareholder described Bob Diamond as 'absolutely worth his multi-million pound pay package' Credit: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Gently, politely, but determinedly the well mannered crowd have heckled, probed and questioned, but they are not getting the answers they want to hear.

Barclays will not lose this vote. The major institutions who hold big chunks of the company and the large foreign investors will mainly back the firm.

But after watching the respectful but resolute crowd in this room, if it was only up to them, I have little doubt the vote would go the other way.