Nearly 32% of shareholders reject Barclays pay deal

By Oliver Hotham

Barclays bank faced outrage from its shareholders at its annual general meeting today, with 31.5% voting against executives' pay.

Investors are furious that high wages continue to be paid despite the falling price of their shares- chairman Marcus Agius was heckled when he took to the stage earlier.

"To most outsiders it looks very odd to see Barclays award £2.15 billion in bonuses whilst paying out just £730 million in dividends to shareholders for 2011, so it is not surprising that there is likely to be a revolt," said shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna.

Agius attempted to quell the rebellion by promising to address the problem, and apologised for the firm's failure to deal with the issue.

"Your board recognises and accepts that remuneration levels across the industry have to adjust to the new reality of higher capital and lower returns for the sector," he will tell shareholders.

"Your board is committed to continuing to make progress in realigning distribution of income and profits in favour of shareholders as returns improve."

Investors are particularly furious over the salary of chief executive Bob Diamond who, after describing the bank's recent performance as "unacceptable", collected a salary of £1.35 million and a bonus of £2.7 million.

The crucial vote on the bank's remuneration report, which gives executives their salaries, was rejected by 31.5% of shareholders.

The rebellion comes amid fears by many shareholders that executive pay is does not correlate with performance.

The controversy over banker bonuses last came to the public eye with the controversy over RBS chief executive Stephen Hester's bonus, with public pressure forcing him to refuse it.