Barclays urges investors not to back Bramson

Investor’s presence at top table would ‘not be in the best interests of shareholders’

A Barclays bank building in London. As well as calling for a board seat, Edward Bramson wants Barclays to curtail its investment banking arm. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

A Barclays bank building in London. As well as calling for a board seat, Edward Bramson wants Barclays to curtail its investment banking arm. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

 

Barclays has urged investors to block an attempt by activist investor Edward Bramson to gain a seat on the lender’s board, arguing his appointment would be “detrimental”.

In a notice published ahead of the bank’s annual meeting in May, outgoing chairman John McFarlane wrote that the board is unanimous in its view that Mr Bramson’s presence at the top table would “not be in the best interests of shareholders as a whole”.

As well as calling for a board seat, Mr Bramson has wants Barclays to curtail its investment banking arm.

But Mr McFarlane said that doing so would be a massive distraction.

“If implemented, it would disrupt the group’s strategy and divert the board into a new, prolonged round of review and/or restructuring at a time when focus should remain on the successful execution of the group’s strategy and improving returns to shareholders.”

Through his investment vehicle Sherborne, Mr Bramson holds a 5.5 per cent stake in Barclays.

Shake up

The chairman also took aim at Sherborne’s track record at companies it has sought to shake up, arguing that Mr Bramson has overseen “executive management departures” and “large reductions in employees”.

“Such initiatives would be counterproductive, creating uncertainty, risking the destabilisation of management and employees, and jeopardising our performance and the ability to deliver sustainable returns to shareholders,” he said.

He added that none of Sherborne’s previous investments involved a bank, “let alone an organisation of the scale and complexity of Barclays”. – PA