Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Blowing the Whistle on Barclays

"Barclays CEO investigated over attempt to identify whistle-blower" by Chad Bray New York Times  April 11, 2017

LONDON — British authorities are investigating Barclays and its chief executive, James E. Staley, after he admitted to trying to learn the identity of a whistle-blower last year, the bank said Monday.

The investigation adds to the public relations troubles of the bank, whose reputation has been hit hard in Britain in recent years by revelations of employee misconduct dating from the financial crisis and earlier.

Staley, a former top executive of JPMorgan’s investment bank, became chief executive in December 2015, replacing Antony Jenkins.

Jenkins had aggressively sought to reshape the lender’s corporate culture after a scandal involving the manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, a benchmark interest rate known as Libor.

Barclays agreed in 2012 to pay $450 million to resolve accusations that it had tried to manipulate rates, becoming the first bank to reach a settlement in the Libor investigation. The scandal cost Robert E. Diamond Jr., the chief executive at the time, his job.

Jenkins was praised for his efforts to change the bank’s culture, but he was ousted in July 2015 after directors lost confidence in his ability to improve returns for shareholders.

On Monday, the bank said that its board had learned early this year of Staley’s attempt to identify the author of an anonymous letter, and that it had hired the law firm Simmons & Simmons to investigate the matter. The bank said it also “promptly notified” the Financial Conduct Authority, the Prudential Regulation Authority, and other relevant agencies.

The law firm’s investigation found that Staley had asked the Barclays information security team to try to learn the identity of the author of one of the letters because he considered “the letters were an unfair personal attack on the senior employee.”

He was told at the time that doing so was not appropriate, as both letters were logged as letters from whistle-blowers. No further action was taken at the time.

But Staley inquired in July 2016 if the whistle-blowing issue had been resolved.

He “honestly, but mistakenly, believed” that it was permissible to identify the author of one of the letters, the bank said, citing the law firm inquiry.

Staley then asked the bank’s information security team to try to identify the author of one of the letters and sought the assistance of a US law enforcement agency in doing so. The information security team was ultimately unsuccessful in identifying the authors, and no further steps were taken, the bank said....

Plus he apologized.


Now I lay me down to sleep...