Barclays Activist Investor Bramson Targets Board Seat in May

(Bloomberg) -- The activist investor targeting Barclays Plc redoubled his efforts to get a seat on the British bank’s board.

Edward Bramson’s investment firm, which holds more than 5 percent of Barclays’s shares, said Tuesday that it submitted a resolution to ask shareholders to appoint him to the board at the lender’s annual general meeting, which is expected to be held May 2.

It’s the first formal move by Bramson to win shareholder support for his campaign, after Barclays rebuffed his previous request to become a non-executive director last September. In a letter to his investors in December, Bramson indicated that he would seek board changes at the meeting in May or call a separate session for shareholders.

There has been some skepticism about Bramson’s ability to obtain a seat on Barclays’ board. Citigroup Inc. analysts have said it will be difficult for him to obtain support from a majority of shareholders as well as U.K. regulatory approval.

“It’s not obvious to me that this is something we would want to see happen,” said Mike Fox, head of sustainable funds at Royal London Asset Management, which owns shares worth 173 million pounds ($224 million), or 0.6 percent of the bank. “Bramson has come to the table with the same issue everyone has wrestled with at Barclays for the past 10 years and I can’t see how putting him on the board is the solution. I don’t think we would support this.”

Bramson will require a simple majority for his ordinary resolution to be passed, according to English law. Spokesmen for Barclays and Bramson declined to comment.

The activist is keen for Barclays to make cuts in its corporate and investment bank, which has reported a lower return on equity than other units. It puts him at odds with Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley, who has bet his reputation on boosting returns and overhauling that division. Barclays is due to release its earnings on February 21.

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