Barclays chief subject of probe

Financial regulators in Britain are investigating Barclays CEO Jes Staley and the bank over the handling of a whistleblowing incident.

Barclays chief subject of probe

Barclays said yesterday the investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority relates to an attempt last year by Mr Staley to identify the author of letters that were treated by Barclays as a whistleblowing incident.

Barclays said it has formally reprimanded Mr Staley and will “very significantly” cut his bonus. But the bank said he continued to have the “unanimous confidence” of the board and it will support his reappointment at the annual shareholder meeting on May 10.

Mr Staley, the former head of JP Morgan’s investment bank, became Barclays chief executive in December 2015. The investigation relates to anonymous letters sent in June 2016 to members of the board and a senior executive that raised concerns about a senior employee who had been recruited by Barclays earlier that year, the bank said.

Barclays did not name the employee, but a source said the letters were about Tim Main, who Mr Staley worked with at JP Morgan. Mr Main was hired in June 2016 as chairman of Barclays’ financial institutions group, based in New York. Mr Main declined to comment through a Barclays spokeswoman.

“Amongst other issues, the letters raised concerns of a personal nature about the senior employee, Mr Staley’s knowledge of and role in dealing with those issues at a previous employer, and the appropriateness of the recruitment process followed on this occasion by Barclays,” Barclays said in its statement.

After being given a copy of the first letter and made aware of the second, Mr Staley asked the bank’s group information security (GIS) team attempt to identify the author or authors of the letters.

“Mr Staley considered that the letters were an unfair personal attack on the senior employee,” the bank said.

Mr Staley was told it was not appropriate to try to identify the author or authors. But in July 2016 he asked if the issue had been cleared. Following this, he had an “honestly held, but mistaken, belief was that he had clearance to identify the author of one of the letters”, the bank said.

GIS asked for assistance from a US law enforcement agency in identifying the author, but it was unsuccessful and no further steps were taken to do so after that. Mr Staley apologised to staff in an email yesterday.

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