Everything you need to know about the FCA's investigation into Barclays chief executive Jes Staley

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Barclays' boss is under investigation by City watchdogs (Source: Getty)

Barclays today announced City watchdogs will probe its boss, Jes Staley, over a whistleblower case - here's everything you need to know.

What happened?

Back in June 2016, members of Barclays' board received an anonymous letter and a senior executive received another letter raising concerns about a senior employee who had been recruited earlier that year.

Among other issues, the letters raised concerns of a personal nature about the senior employee, Staley's knowledge of and role in dealing with those issues at a previous employer, and the appropriateness of the recruitment process in this case.

What did Staley do - and why?

Staley requested Barclays' group information security team identify the authors of the letters. He thought the letters were an unfair personal attack on the senior employee.

He was later told he wasn't permitted to identify the authors and took no further action.

The authors were never identified.

What did the board say?

An external investigation by law firm Simmons & Simmons found, and the board concluded, Staley "honestly, but mistakenly" believed he was able to search out the author of the letter.

However, the board said he made an error in becoming involved with, and not applying appropriate governance around, the matter.

So what's happening now?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have started an investigation into Staley's individual conduct and senior manager responsibilities relating to the Barclays whistleblowing programme and his attempt to find the author of the letter.

It will also probe Barclays over its responsibilities relating to the attempt by Staley to identify the author as well as its systems and controls and culture relating to whistleblowing.

The board said it is also commissioning independent reviews of Barclays' relevant processes and controls, including its whistleblowing programme.

Barclays' board is also reviewing the position of other employees involved in the matter.

What did Staley say?

In a statement, Staley said: "I have apologised to the Barclays board, and accepted its conclusion that my personal actions in this matter were errors on my part. I will also accept whatever sanction it deems appropriate. I will cooperate fully with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority, which are now both examining this matter."

Our whistleblowing process is one of the most important means by which we protect our culture and values at Barclays and I certainly want to ensure that all colleagues, and others who may utilise it, understand the criticality which I attach to it.

What does this mean for the boss?

Barclays' board said it will issue a formal reprimand, and Staley will see a "very significant" cut to his bonus. The board said the precise amount of the pay cut will be determined once the investigations have concluded.

John McFarlane, chairman of Barclays, said Staley has the board's unanimous confidence and it will support his re-appointment at Barclays' annual general meeting on 10 May.

However, it remains to be seen whether the FCA and PRA will come to the same conclusions as the board.

What does this mean for Barclays?

This is the latest in a string of embarrassing regulatory mishaps Barclays has suffered in recent years. Most notable was the high profile investigation into Libor rigging, which led to former chief exec Bob Diamond's departure.

It is also possible the group will be fined following the investigations.

The lender's shares were down around half a per cent in morning trading as investors took in the news.

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