Barclays investors have been advised by Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) to re-elect all current board members at the annual meeting in May. The recommendation by the influential proxy advisor may reduce protests against the board for its support of former CEO Jes Staley, as investigations into his links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein continue. ISS has stated that questions may be asked about the board’s decision to back Staley between 2019 and 2021, but it may be too early for these questions to affect the director elections. The report advises waiting for more news to emerge from ongoing investigations before attempting to answer these questions.
In a notice to investors last month, Barclays said it had received no new evidence from authorities to challenge the findings of a regulatory investigation into how truthful Staley was about his relationship with Epstein since his resignation in November 2021. Barclays stated that the preliminary conclusions of investigations by British financial regulators found “no findings that Mr Staley saw, or was aware of, any of Mr Epstein’s alleged crimes.” Although Staley has admitted to being friendly with Epstein, he has denied knowledge of the financier’s criminal activities.
Barclays has suspended Staley’s unvested long-term bonuses and stated that the board would “consider further action as appropriate.” Staley has been named in two civil lawsuits filed against JPMorgan, his former employer of more than 30 years, for enabling and concealing Epstein’s network. JPMorgan has, in turn, sued Staley over alleged conduct that breached his duty of loyalty to the bank. Staley’s lawyers have dismissed these allegations as false and slanderous.