Barclays CEO James Staley fined £642,430 for whistleblowing response

Ryan Bembridge

May 11, 2018

James Staley, chief executive of Barclays, has been fined £642,430 for trying to unmask a whistleblower from within the bank.

The Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority fined Staley for making “serious errors of judgement” in response  to a letter received in June 2016 which made various allegations, including some involving Staley.

The regulators said there was a conflict of interest in relation to the letter and he should have maintained appropriate distance.

Barclays has also been hit with ‘special requirements’ where it must now report to regulators regarding how it handles whistleblowing – with senior managers having to show evidence of suitable systems and controls every year until the end of 2020.

Mark Steward, FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight, 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.”

Sam Woods, deputy governor for Prudential Regulation and chief executive officer of the PRA, said: “Protection for whistleblowers is an essential part of keeping the financial system safe and sound.

“Mr Staley’s behaviour fell below the standard we require, resulting in today’s fine and public censure.

“In addition, Barclays is now subject to special requirements to report to the PRA and FCA how it handles its whistleblowing cases in the coming years.”

This is the first case brought by the FCA and PRA under the Senior Managers Regime.

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