Barclays’ CEO Pledges Ethics and Excitement

Antony Jenkins, who took over as chief executive of Barclays last August, has told the bank’s 140,000 employees to sign up to a new code of conduct.

“I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of you … will enthusiastically support this move. But there might be some who don’t feel they can fully buy into an approach which so squarely links performance to the upholding of our values,” Jenkins wrote in a staff memo.

“My message to those people is simple: Barclays is not the place for you. The rules have changed. You won’t feel comfortable at Barclays and, to be frank, we won’t feel comfortable with you as colleagues.”

He added that the code is based on the five key values of respect, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship, while bonus payments are to be assessed against the new ‘purposes and values’ criteria.

Jenkins was
promoted to CEO
weeks after the departure of Bob Diamond last July and following the UK bank’s payment of £290m to US and UK regulators to settle allegations that it manipulated the benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).

“The behaviour which made those headlines in 2012 took place in the past,” he wrote in the memo. “But it helped underline how banking as a whole had lost its way, and had lost touch with the values on which reputation and trust were built.

“Over a period of almost 20 years, banking became too aggressive, too focused on the short term, too disconnected from the needs of our customers and clients, and wider society. We were not immune at Barclays from these mistakes. Performance assessment will be based not just on what we deliver but on how we deliver it. We must never again be in a position of rewarding people for making the bank money in a way which is unethical or inconsistent with our values.”

The memo added that Barclays will unveil a new business strategy on 12 February, which the CEO promised would “excite” the workforce.

According to reports, a deal to settle similar allegations that Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) also manipulated Libor will be resolved shortly, with RBS expected to agree payment of around £500m in all to UK and US regulators.

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