ISS has joined Glass Lewis in recommending Barclays shareholders vote to re-elect chief executive Jes Staley, in another blow to Edward Bramson’s vehicle Sherborne Investments.
The Barclays boss has faced pressure from Bramson and Sherborne Investments over his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority are looking into whether Staley was forthcoming about his relationship with Epstein, which he claimed was professional.
In a letter to investors, ISS said it would recommend Staley for re-election at the company’s upcoming annual meeting. The shareholder adviser said it believed Staley had been “sufficiently transparent with the company as regards the nature and extent of his relationship with Epstein.”
Glass Lewis has also recommended Staley’s re-election as Sherborne’s proposal “would entail considerably greater risk and uncertainty.”
Sherborne calls temporary truce
Last week, Sherborne, which controls a 5.45 per cent stake in Barclays, said it would withhold its vote against Staley in recognition of the difficulties posed by the pandemic. However, the investment company said it still thinks the chief executive is “unsuitable to continue”.
Sherborne also called on the board to announce an orderly succession timetable for Staley. It said the regulatory probes and Staley’s role in the attempted unveiling of a whistleblower had damaged Barclays’ standing.
When the relationship was made public in February, Staley said he was unaware of Epstein’s true nature, and has expressed regret that he had any relationship with the paedophile.
Staley maintained contact with Epstein for several years after he was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor in 2008. The Barclays boss reportedly visited Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean during 2015 with his wife.