May 2, 2019

Barclays vote against Bramson is no victory for long-termism

At their annual general meeting on Thursday, 87.2 per cent of investors who voted opposed Mr Bramson becoming a boardroom mouthpiece for those who believe Barclays should shrink its investment bank. For many of them, the reason was that Mr Bramson had not used his own money to take a 5.5 per cent stake - he had borrowed $1.4bn from Bank of America, and then hedged his leveraged position to protect against share price falls. Had Mr Bramson won over another 38.2 per cent of the vote, it is easy to see how both criticisms might have looked increasingly valid. Even with the support of only 5.3 per cent of the independent shareholders who voted, Mr Bramson has ensured short-termism. Even with 87.2 per cent of shareholders supportive of current management, Mr Bramson's pressure has made Barclays seem less stable.

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