Financial Conduct Authority  

Barclays boss probed over whistleblowing

Barclays boss probed over whistleblowing

Financial regulators are investigating the chief executive of Barclays after he broke the rules around the treatment of whistleblowers.

The Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority have launched a probe into Barclays boss Jes Staley after he tried to identify the author of a letter that was treated by the bank as a whistleblow.

The City watchdogs are also set to investigate Barclays’ systems and culture relating to whistleblowing.

Barclays board found out about the breach earlier this year and “promptly” told the regulators.

The bank also instructed law firm, Simmons & Simmons, to investigate the matter, which concluded that Mr Staley “honestly, but mistakenly, believed that it was permissible to identify the author of the letter”.

“However, the board has concluded that Mr Staley made an error in becoming involved with, and not applying appropriate governance around, the matter, and in taking action to attempt to identify the author of the letter.”

The letter, written by an employee of Barclays in June last year, had raised concerns about a number of matters at the bank, including the adequacy of its whistleblowing procedures.

The anonymous letter also outlined concerns about a senior employee at Barclays who had been recruited last year.

Mr Staley considered this an "unfair personal attack” on the senior employee and asked the information security team to identify the author.

However, the author of the letter was not identified and no further action was taken.

John McFarlane, Barclays chairman, said: "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.”  

Barclays will be issuing a formal written reprimand to Mr Staley and has decided that a significant adjustment will be made to his variable compensation award, which will be determined once the regulators' investigations have finished.

Mr Staley has apologised for his error, and in a statement, he said: “I will also accept whatever sanction it deems appropriate.”

Whilst Barclays does not intend to make any further comment at this time given the ongoing regulatory investigations, it said it will provide an update “when appropriate”.

katherine.denham@ft.com