Barclays, the British multinational banking and financial institution, has reportedly announced a major jump in its annual profits, having raked in a record £8.4 billion (US$11.2 million) for 2021.
The company also announced that it has frozen share awards, presently worth more than £22m (US$29.4 million), to its former CEO, Jes Staley. The bank cited the ongoing regulatory probe into Staley's alleged relationship with disgraced financier, Jeffrey Epstein, as the reason behind the freeze.
The bank acknowledged that the board of directors had chosen not to allow long-standing share awards to be vested as planned but did not dismiss the possibility of doing so in the coming future.
Mr. Staley left Barclays in November 2020 after the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) informed him and the firm of the early findings of their investigation.
It looked at how Mr. Staley had described his historic professional relationship with Epstein to Barclays, dating back to when he was the head of JP Morgan's private banking division.
As per the bank, the probe, which began after Epstein died while awaiting his trial in 2019, found no evidence that Mr. Staley observed or was privy to Epstein's sex-related crimes.
According to Barclays, Mr. Staley's tenure at the bank was accountable for its annual results.
Profits nearly tripled if compared to the £3.1 billion Barclays attained in 2020.
The improvement was fueled by decreased bad loan charges, after more than £5 billion were placed aside last year, with more than £700 million of the amount now released.
Barclays announced a £1.9 billion bonus pool, as well as plans to buy out a billion pounds of its own stock and raise its full-year dividend to 4p per share. The stock increased by over 3%.
Mr. Staley was succeeded by C.S. Venkatakrishnan, who indicated at the point that he agreed with his predecessor's plan, which included the investment banking sector.
Meanwhile, it has come to light that Tushar Morzaria, Barclays' long-serving CFO, has opted to step down, and his deputy Anna Cross will take over the position starting from April.