You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Money Top Stories

Activist investor Bramson launches major broadside at Barclays bosses

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 6 days ago Simon English
a sign on the side of a building © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

The row between Barclays and Ed Bramson ramped up another notch on monday when the rebel investor attacked the make-up of the board and questioned the competence of incoming chairman Nigel Higgins.

Bramson, a corporate raider who specialises in taking stakes in underperforming companies and agitating for change, is seeking a seat on the board as he pushes his plan for Barclays to ditch all or part of its investment bank.

While the chances of him securing a seat are low — few investors have backed him — the continuing weakness of the Barclays share price is making him hard to ignore.

Headhunters say Bramson lacks banking experience and is not qualified to join the board, especially given the risk others would quit if he joined. Today he wrote: “By our count, five of the current directors already have banking or advisory backgrounds and we wonder how adding more could possibly make any substantive difference.”

A view of Barclays Bank Headquarters in Canary Wharf:  Barclays has announced plans to move 190bn (£166bn) of assets to Dublin because due to Brexit and is unable to wait for a Brexit contingency plan which  involves 5,000 clients. However, few jobs in London are expected to be affected.
The business amounts to around 15% of the bank's £1.2 trillion in total assets and was previously conducted in the UK through branches across the EU. (Photo credit should read Amer Ghazzal / Barcroft Media via Getty Images) © Getty A view of Barclays Bank Headquarters in Canary Wharf: Barclays has announced plans to move 190bn (£166bn) of assets to Dublin because due to Brexit and is unable to wait for a Brexit contingency plan which involves 5,000 clients. However, few jobs in London are expected to be affected. The business amounts to around 15% of the bank's £1.2 trillion in total assets and was previously conducted in the UK through branches across the EU. (Photo credit should read Amer Ghazzal / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Bramson notes the new chair has already backed Barclays’ strategy and plans to hire more directors with banking backgrounds.

Bramson’s broadside also cited an alleged email to chief executive Jes Staley and others from ousted investment bank chief Tim Throsby. According to Business Insider, it was titled “irreconcilable” and criticised plans to cut bankers’ pay and reduce capital reserves. Barclays denied such plans.

Bramson said in his latest letter, before the bank’s annual meeting on May 2: “The stubbornly low valuation that the market accords to the shares of Barclays will continue until the board finally adopts a strategy that is more realistic and shareholder orientated.”

Watch: Goldman Had a 'Sound Quarter' Under New Leadership, Barclays' Goldberg Says (Bloomberg)

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

By that he means scaling down the trading arm and returning imagined savings to investors.

Barclays played down talk of board in-fighting. One analyst said: “Throsby’s departure appeared ‘premature’, so media reports of ‘disagreement’ are not surprising. That said, the official line in relation to the reorganisation appeared coherent; the new structure looks sensible. Barclays IB has taken market share for the past five quarters, so, in the context of a weak market with structurally challenged returns its relative performance has actually been quite reasonable.”

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Evening Standard

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon