Investment Markets Overview – w/e 25 April 2014

The thorny topic of bonuses raised its head this week, as UK bank Barclays PLC faced a barrage of criticism over its pay policies at an acrimonious annual shareholders’ meeting. Despite a 32% fall in profits, the bank’s remuneration committee recommended a 10% increase in bonuses, to £2.4bn, which went through regardless of opposition by 34% of the bank’s shareholders, which, perhaps for the first time post financial crisis, included a major UK instititution, Standard Life Investments. Meanwhile, at one of the UK tax-payer owned banks, The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, attempts to pay bonuses at twice the size of salaries were thwarted by UKFI, the body that manages the Treasury’s 81% stake in the bank on behalf of the tax-payer. The UK Chancellor, George Osborne, stated, “We made it clear that in the circumstances it was not right to increase the bonus cap and I’m glad that RBS have agreed with that.” It may have taken the best part of four years for the UK Government to wake-up to the growing anger surrounding “rewards for failure,” particularly within public owned entities, but maybe the tide is turning. Perhaps it’s also time for other city institutions to step up to the plate like Standard Life?

Main Indices 25 April 14

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