Barclays boss Antony Jenkins has defended his decision to take an annual bonus for 2014, in a move helping his total pay package rise from £1.6m to £5.5m.
Mr Jenkins, who had declined the pay-out for each of the last two years, was challenged over accepting the £1.1m bonus after a year in which the bank has cut 14,000 jobs and closed a net 72 UK branches, while statutory profits fell by a fifth.
He said he recognised he was very well paid, but insisted that the decision to accept the bonus was “appropriate” – adding that it was not taken lightly and he would again consider it carefully next year.
His total pay package is also swollen by a new role-based allowance of £950,000 and a long-term award worth £1.85m, on top of a basic salary of £1.1m, plus benefits worth £100,000 and pension of £363,000.
Mr Jenkins said: “You have to look at the very significant progress that we have made in Barclays in the two-and-a-half years that I have been chief executive.
“I completely understand that I am very well remunerated for what I do. But... I think it is appropriate that I accept my bonus.
“It is not a decision I take lightly and I declined it in the previous two years. When I come to 2015, I will do the same careful thinking about whether I should accept it given the progress the bank has made.”
Mr Jenkins pointed to progress in shoring up the bank’s balance sheet and cutting costs.
“All of these things seemed to me to be reasons why it was appropriate that I accept the bonus on this occasion.”
Meanwhile, the bank has cut the level of total bonus pay-outs by 22% to £1.86bn. It was down 24% to £1.05bn for the investment bank.
Sir John Sunderland, chair of the board’s remuneration committee, said in considering final bonuses, it took into account the ongoing probe into alleged foreign exchange rate rigging. Barclays has set aside a total of £1.25 billion over the affair.
The bank said in its annual report, published alongside its final results today, that the number of employees earning more than £1m in total remuneration had reduced from 481 in 2013 to 359 in 2014.