Barclays was at pains to stress last week that the £5.7m it paid to the exchequer because of a tax bill incurred by Bob Diamond – as a result of his relocation to the UK from the US to become chief executive last year – should not be directly counted as remuneration.
Shareholders, though, will need to decide what they think before the company's annual meeting next month, when they get a vote on the remuneration report.
The investor advisory group Pirc points out that the Association of British Insurers has a line in its closely watched code on executive pay that tackles the issue of taxation.
It says: "Remuneration committees should not seek to make changes to any element of executive remuneration to compensate participants for changes in their personal status."
Pirc's view? "If you follow ABI policy it looks like Barclays is not in line with it. If you don't think Barclays should have paid the tax bill, vote against the remuneration report.
"There's an unintended consequence of inaction too. If shareholders don't object to breaches of policy by FTSE 100 companies, won't that encourage other companies to try it on?"
An interesting question – and one that shareholders must be mulling over right now. The ABI's institutional voting issues service team will make a formal pronouncement ahead of the annual meeting.
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