Barclays boss Jes Staley faces a fine for trying to identify a whistleblower at the bank in 2016, allegedly breaching conduct rules in the process.
Both the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) claim Staley’s actions violated rules that require him to ‘act with due skill, care and diligence’.
He used Barclay’s internal security to try and track down the author of two anonymous letters sent to the board and a senior executive in June 2016. On the second occasion, the security team received assistance from a US law enforcement agency, but still failed to identify the whistleblower, the Guardian reported.
Barclays has stood by its boss Jes Staley (pictured), and stressed that he has not been accused of acting with a lack of integrity, or that he was not fit to continue in his role as chief executive
Following the warnings over Staley’s conduct, the bank stressed that its boss has not been accused of acting with a lack of integrity, or that he was not fit to continue in his role as chief executive.
The size of the proposed penalty has not been disclosed. Staley has 28 days to respond to the warning notices issued by the two regulators.
Barclays Bank, which also faced a probe following Staley’s attempts to identify the author of the anonymous letter, is not facing any enforcement action by the FCA or PRA.
However it may have to report on its whistleblowing procedures to the regulators.
Staley (pictured) used Barclay’s internal security to try and track down the author of two anonymous letters sent to the board and a senior executive in June 2016
The board said it ‘continues to have unanimous confidence in Mr Staley’ and is still recommending that shareholders back his re-election at the annual general meeting (AGM) on May 1.
Staley’s misconduct was the focus of last year’s AGM when shareholders fired a warning shot at the banking chief, with more than 16 per cent of votes cast failing to back his re-election.
Nearly 14 per cent abstained and 2.4 per cent voted against him – even after he issued an apology to shareholders at the meeting.
But an influential advisory group – Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) – earlier this week called for a vote in favour of Mr Staley ‘even though it is not without concern for shareholders’.
Its support was based on views that the company and chief executive were co-operating with authorities and that the bank had strengthened its whistleblowing programme.
The board said it ‘continues to have unanimous confidence in Mr Staley’ and is still recommending that shareholders back his re-election at the annual general meeting on May 1
Commenting on the regulators’ notices on Friday, Barclays highlighted that, in May 2017, ‘the Barclays board voluntarily commissioned independent reviews of Barclays’ whistleblowing policies, processes and controls, in line with which certain enhancements have subsequently been made’.
However, the shareholder group did note a ‘lack of any action on the CEO’s pay’ after the 61-year-old boss received a formal reprimand from the board, but said it was still recommending that investors vote in favour of Barclays’ remuneration report.
ISS’s recommendations were outlined in a report published before the FCA and PRA probes were known to have been completed.