Barclays chief executive Jes Staley has been fined £642,430 over his attempts to find out the identity of a whistleblower who had flagged concerns about behaviour in the bank.
In a joint statement the bank's twin regulators, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), said Staley (pictured) had ‘failed to act with due skill, care and diligence’.
The decision is the first case pursued by the regulators under the Senior Managers Regime, which is designed to hold key individuals accountable for corporate actions.
The bank has now had additional reporting requirements imposed on its and is subject to gold-plated disclosure on its whistleblowing processes, with senior managers facing individual requirements.
FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward said: ‘Given the crucial role of the chief executive, the standard of due skill, care and diligence is more demanding than for other employees.
‘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.'
He added: ‘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.’
The regulator launched a probe into Staley’s conduct a year ago, after the company admitted that he had attempted to identify the author of a letter to the Barclays board, drawing attention to, among other matters, weakness in the way it handled whistleblowers.
Barclays chair John McFarlane said at the time: 'I am personally very disappointed and apologetic that this situation has occurred, particularly as we strive to operate to the highest possible ethical standards.
'The board takes Barclays culture and the integrity of its controls extremely seriously. We have investigated this matter fully using an external law firm and we will be commissioning an independent review of Barclays processes and controls to determine what improvements may be required.'