Activist investor Edward Bramson on Monday repeated his call to join Barclays’ board as he continues to butt heads with the bank's management team over strategy.
Bramson, whose vehicle Sherborne Investors owns about 5.5% of Barclays, sent a letter to the lender’s shareholders urging them to back his campaign to be elected as a non-executive director at the bank’s annual general meeting on May 2.
“In our firm’s professional opinion, the stubbornly low valuation that the market accords to the shares of Barclays will continue until the board finally adopts a strategy that is more realistic and shareholder orientated,” Bramson said.
The renewed plea for a role in decision making comes after Barclays ignored Bramson’s proposal to scale back the group’s investment bank.
Last week, Barclays said it planned to press ahead with plans to improve the performance of its investment bank rather than cut it back.
Bramson said his view about what needs to change at Barclays remains the same.
“Our public investment record shows that we have consistently assisted boards, that were initially reluctant, to deliver major increases in value for all of the shareholders,” Bramson said.
“We believe that, given mutual goodwill, and some change in perspective, Barclays offers similar opportunities.
Shareholder advisory group tells investors to oppose Bramson's proposal
However, Bramson was dealt a blow after leading shareholder advisory group, Glass Lewis, told investors to oppose his bid for a seat on the board.
Glass Lewis said Bramson’s request for a seat on the board “falls short” and that other Barclays shareholders should reject his appointment at the AGM.
It noted that Bramson’s argument had some merit, with shareholder returns falling behind Barclays’ peers, but said that the activist’s proposals to overhaul Barclays’ investment bank were “overly vague”.
Glass Lewis added that Bramson did not appear to have any “concrete plans”.
Leading investor rejects Bramson's bid for board seat
Merian Global Investors’ Richard Buxton, a leading investor in Barclays, said it would vote against Bramson’s bid for a board seat.
The UK fund manager said Barclays did “not need a hostile disruptor in their midst, arguing on false numbers against their execution of the existing strategy to improve returns, for his own short-term ends”.
Bramson has a track record of intervening in UK companies to make changes to improve investor returns.