Wednesday 20 November 2019

Regulators reportedly quiz Barclays chief for second time in whistleblowing probe

Jes Staley was quizzed last week by both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority.

Barclays chief executive Jes Staley
Barclays chief executive Jes Staley

By Ben Woods, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

The boss of Barclays has faced fresh questions over the bank’s whisteblowing scandal, while the lender’s whistleblowing chief is to step down, according to reports.

Jes Staley was quizzed last week by both the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) following an initial interview in July over his attempts to root out a whistleblower, Sky News has reported.

It comes as Jonathan Cox, the bank’s global head of whistleblowing, looks set to leave after withdrawing an employment lawsuit against the lender for alleged whistleblowing rule breaches, a separate report by Reuters has stated.

Mr Cox, a former Metropolitan Police detective inspector, has reportedly withdrawn his employment case slated for September 13 at the East London Tribunal.

There is no suggestion the two instances are linked.

The FCA and the PRA are investigating Mr Staley’s conduct and senior manager responsibilities relating to the lender’s whistleblowing programme.

The incident refers to anonymous letters sent in 2016 to the board and an executive, which raised concerns about a newly-recruited senior employee and Mr Staley’s role in the recruitment.

Having been given a copy of the first letter and made aware of the second, Mr Staley initially requested that the Barclays Group Information Security team attempt to identify the authors of the letters as he considered they were an “unfair personal attack” on the employee.

Barclays has already issued the CEO with a formal written reprimand, and may make a “very significant compensation adjustment” to his bonus.

The precise amount of the compensation adjustment will be determined once the FCA and PRA investigations have concluded.

Barclays previously said that Mr Staley “honestly, but mistakenly, believed that it was permissible to identify the author” of a letter written by the whistleblower.

The board concluded that Mr Staley “made an error” in becoming involved with and not applying appropriate governance around the matter.

The attempt to uncover the whistleblower’s identity was ultimately unsuccessful.

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