Barclays appoints senior City lawyer to lead culture review

Barclays has appointed Anthony Salz, a well known City lawyer and vice chairman of global financial advisory and wealth management firm Rothschild, to lead an independent review of its business practices in the wake of recent scandals that have rocked the bank.

Mr Salz will report to Barclays deputy chairman Sir Michael Rake and a sub-committee of the Barclays board. The bank has stated that it will follow any recommendations from the review to change its ‘culture’.

In the wake of the recent scandal relating to Barclays’ manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, Andrew Bailey, head of the prudential business unit at the Financial Services Authority, told a Treasury Select Committee hearing that the bank had a “culture of gaming”.

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The FSA issued a record £59.5m fine as part of a £290m package of penalties from UK and US regulators, prompting furore that has seen the resignation of Barclay’s chief executive Bob Diamond.

A statement on the Barclays website says the review will assess the bank’s present values, principles and standards of operation and determine to what extent those need to change.

The statement adds that it will also test how well current decision-making processes incorporate the bank’s values, standards and principles and determine whether or not the appropriate training, development, incentives and disciplinary processes are in place.

Findings and recommendations made by the review will be published.

At a hearing before the Treasury Select Committee it emerged Mr Diamond’s resignation was prompted by revelations from Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King that the Financial Services Authority no longer supported Mr Diamond as bank leader.

Mr Diamond also announced he would forego the benefits of his severance package.

The Serious Fraud Office is going ahead with a criminal investigation into Libor fixing, and some commentators have speculated that at least five banks must have manipulated the rate to make a difference to the way it was calculated.

Mr Salz said: “Barclays has a real opportunity to use the events of the past weeks to drive a change in its values and practices, and I look forward to hearing views on the changes that should be made.”

Sir Michael said: “Mr Salz has the full support of the Barclays board, and we will ensure that he has whatever resources necessary at his disposal to make it thorough and far-reaching.

“We expect this work to contribute significantly to the broader change that we intend to bring about to the way in which Barclays operates.”