Barclays’ bonus pledges defy watchdog’s guidance

Barclays has ignored financial watchdog guidelines on bonuses, less than a year after the government bailed out the banking sector.

The bank, which yesterday reported £2.99bn in profits for the first half of 2009, has guaranteed three of its investment bankers two years’ worth of bonuses.

Barclays Capital, its investment arm, has hired 200 financiers, guaranteeing their bonuses for a year.

Chief executive John Varley said: “I think there is a very clear expectation from customers and shareholders that we employ the best people we can.”

Barclays benefited from the £130bn of taxpayer support the government spent stabilising the banking sector, although it did not need any of the bail-out cash itself.

Earlier this month, regulator the Financial Services Authority warned that bankers who are guaranteed bonues for more than a year regardless of the bank’s performance would be encouraged to take risks.

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