Barclays has reported a 3% fall in profits to £5.9bn for last year, hit by a slowdown at its investment bank arm. The bank also said the bonus pool at the investment banking division was down 32% to £1.5bn in 2011. Chief executive Bob Diamond declined to discuss his own bonus during a news conference.

But senior executives will see bonuses cut about 48%, which BBC business editor Robert Peston says would give Mr Diamond about £3m. Barclays’ total bonus pot for the year will now be about £2.15bn, down 25%, with cash bonuses capped at £65,000. The average bonus payout for a Barclays’ employee fell 21% year-on-year to £15,200. At a press conference, Mr Diamond avoided questions about his own bonus. “This [news conference] is about results today,” he said. Nor would he discuss critical comments from the Association of British Insurers’, which lobbies on behalf of some of the UK’s biggest investors, the pension funds. Robert Talbut, chairman of the ABI’s investment committee, said: “Whilst overall bonus levels at Barclays have been reduced, for Barclays Capital this reduction is only in line with the fall in profit before tax at BarCap.

“This appears to be very close to business as usual. It is not the signal of the change required in order to improve the investment case,” he said. Barclays, the UK’s fourth largest bank by market value, received no injection of state aid during the financial crisis and had previously indicated that it felt under no obligation to cut bonuses. But its results come after weeks of conflict over bonuses, in which RBS chief Stephen Hester turned down £963,000 worth of shares, and Lloyds Banking Group head Antonio Horta-Osorio waived his own payout following a leave of absence.