Barclays chief censured over whistleblowing case

Barclay’s chief executive (CEO), Jes Staley, is to lose his annual bonus after the UK’s two regulatory bodies for the financial sector opened an investigation of his conduct during a whistleblowing case.

Reports state that the case dates from June 2016, members of the Barclays board received an anonymous letter and a senior executive received another anonymous letter, raising concerns about a senior employee who the bank had recently recruited.

The letters expressed concerns of a personal nature about the senior employee, and Staley’s knowledge of and role in dealing with those issues at a previous employer.

The CEO responded by asking Barclays’ internal investigation team to attempt to identify the authors of the letters, which he regarded as an unfair personal attack on the senior employee.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) will now investigate his conduct and Barclays will also fine Staley up to £1.3m, or all of his annual bonus. He will also receive a formal written reprimand

In a statement, Staley commented: “I will co-operate fully with the FCA and the PRA, which are now both examining this matter. Our whistleblowing process is one of the most important means by which we protect our culture and values at Barclays and I certainly want to ensure that all colleagues, and others who may utilise it, understand the criticality which I attach to it.”

He told the Barclays board he had been attempting to protect a colleague who had experienced personal difficulties in the past from what he believed to be an unfair attack. Board members have accepted his apology and confirmed that the CEO “continues to have the board’s unanimous confidence”.

Barclays chairman John McFarlane said that Staley had an otherwise exemplary record, commenting: “I am personally very disappointed and apologetic that this situation has occurred, particularly as we strive to operate to the highest possible ethical standards.

“The board takes Barclays’ culture and the integrity of its controls extremely seriously. We have investigated this matter fully using an external law firm and we will be commissioning an independent review of Barclays’ processes and controls to determine what improvements may be required.”

 

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