Morning papers: Barclays head defends bloated bonus pool

Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays bank, defended a £200m increase in bonus payments to senior executives by saying the payouts were needed to avoid a “death spiral”, the Telegraph reports.

Mr Jenkins said he was forced to increase the 2013 bonus pool despite falling profits after hundreds of staff left the investment bank in the US. He added that had he not paid higher bonuses the investment division would suffer.

The paper cites estimates that as many as 700 staff left the US investment bank after Barclays cut compensation in 2012, with the level of senior staff turnover increasing from 5 per cent to 10 per cent.

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Markets rally as US demands full Russian exit

Russian equities rebounded 5.3 per cent on Tuesday (4 March) following an 11 per cent slump the previous day, the worst since 2008, after Russia called troops in the Ukraine back to bases and Vladimir Putin appeared to step back from deeper confrontation, the Financial Times reports.

In Mr Putin’s first public remarks in the wake of the tentative pullback in the Crimean peninsula, the Russian president said he would use further military action only as a last resort. He also criticised the US for running “experiments on [lab] rats without understanding the consequences”.

In Kiev, John Kerry warned the US would isolate Russia “politically, economically and diplomatically” unless it completely withdrew the forces that have effectively seized the Crimea.

President Barrack Obama added: “I know Mr Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers with a different set of interpretations but I don’t think that is fooling anyone”.”

Church of England increases alternatives exposure

The Church of England is increasing the exposure of its £6bn endowment to alternative investments such as hedge funds and private equity, the Financial Times reports.

According to the paper, this will make the CoE one of the UK’s largest single investors in these types of assets.

The fund also includes residential property and farm land, but a Church spokesperson told the paper alternatives already account for a third of the fund.

Savings rates halved since BoE rate cut

In the five years since the Bank of England cut its base rate to 0.5 per cent savers have received interest payments of only half of what they were before, the Daily Mail reports.

The paper adds that a lack of competition and the government’s Funding for Lending scheme have resulted in interest rates on £10,000 dropping on average from £240 to £100.

City banker claims he was replaced by an imposter

A former UBS banker in the throes of a divorce battle has claimed he cannot be divorced because he was not at his own wedding.

Amit Goyal told the court his wife married another man with a similar name at a wedding ceremony while Mr Goyal relaxed at home.

On this premise he claims he cannot be held liable for financial compensation.