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Barclays chief fined over whistleblowing failings

Barclays chief fined over whistleblowing failings

The chief executive of Barclays has been fined £642,430 for trying to identify a whistleblower at the bank.

The Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority jointly fined Jes Staley after he tried to identify the author of an anonymous letter in 2016.

In addition to the fine, the two regulators have also subjected Barclays to special requirements which mean it must report annually on how it handles whistleblowing, with personal attestations from those senior managers responsible for the relevant systems and controls.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: "Given the crucial role of the chief executive, the standard of due skill, care and diligence is more demanding than for other employees.

"Mr Staley breached the standard of care required and expected of a chief executive in a way that risked undermining confidence in Barclays’ whistleblowing procedures.

"Chief executives must act with a high degree of care and prudence at all times. Whistleblowers play a vital role in exposing poor practice and misconduct in the financial services sector. It is critical that individuals are able to speak up anonymously and without fear of retaliation if they want to raise concerns."

The 2016 letter claimed to be from a Barclays shareholder and contained various allegations, some of which concerned Mr Staley.

The investigation by the regulators - the first under the new senior managers regime - found Mr Staley should have maintained an appropriate distance, given his conflict in the matter, and should not have taken steps to identify the author.

It found Mr Staley's actions to be a breach of the requirement to act with due skill, care and diligence but not a breach of the requirement to act with integrity.

The investigation found that Mr Staley made "serious errors of judgement" and that while he made no personal gain in this instance, both regulators viewed his misconduct as sufficiently serious for each to impose a penalty of 10 per cent of his relevant annual income.

As part of the regime which the regulators have imposed on the bank, Barclays’ Whistleblowers’ Champions, who are approved by the FCA and PRA, will have to attest personally to the soundness of its whistleblowing systems and controls on an annual basis.

These measures, which apply to all cases until the end of 2020, are the first of their kind applied to a regulated firm in relation to whistleblowing.