Barclays' CEO fined, but retained, as bank faces more scrutiny


After a yearlong probe, United Kingdom regulators Friday fined the American executive £642,430 ($868,501) for a "serious error of judgment" in trying to identify the author of a letter that made criticisms of a hire Barclays made, but ultimately said Mr. Staley could keep his job.

The details include with personal attestations required from those Senior Managers responsible for the relevant systems and controls.

"Mr Staley acted unreasonably in proceeding in this way and, in doing so, risked undermining confidence in Barclays' whistleblowing policy and the protections it afforded to whistleblowers", the FCA said.

Brad Birkenfeld, a former UBS banker whose whistleblowing led the Swiss bank to be fined $780m for United States tax fraud, told Financial News: "It is blatantly clear Jes Staley violated several contractual and legal standards in the UK and in Barclays".

Staley was widely condemned as he attempted to identify the writer of an anonymous letter, claiming to be from a Barclays shareholder, which he received in 2016.

"Given his conflict Mr Staley should have maintained an appropriate distance; he should not have taken steps to identify the author", the regulators said.

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It is not the first time a major financial services CEO has been punished in this way - Tidjane Thiam, the former CEO of the Prudential, was similarly castigated in 2013 for failing to keep the FCA properly appraised of a potential takeover - but it is the first time that a sitting chief executive of one of the UK's major banks has been.

The FCA and PRA will monitor Barclay's whistleblowing program going forward. Staley's behaviour fell below the standard we require'.

It was the regulators' first case brought under Britain's new senior managers regime (SMR), a post financial crisis reform aimed at making top staff directly accountable for their actions.

They chose to impose a fine of 10% of Mr Staley's "relevant annual income", or £917,800, which was reduced by 30% thanks to his agreement to settle at an early stage of the investigation. Barclays said Friday it continues to cooperate with that investigation. Accordingly, the Board has now confirmed its decision of April 2017 and has made a very significant adjustment to Jes's variable compensation on the recommendation of the Board Remuneration Committee.

He added: "I have consistently acknowledged that my personal involvement in this matter was inappropriate, and I have apologised for mistakes which I made".

Staley is still being investigated by USA authorities over the incident.