"Mr Staley breached the standard of care required and expected of a Chief Executive in a way that risked undermining confidence in Barclays’ whistleblowing procedures. "
The FCA and PRA have fined James Staley, Chief Executive of Barclays, a total of £642,430 for failing to act with "due skill, care and diligence" in the way he acted in response to an anonymous letter received by Barclays in June 2016.
An investigation found that Staley tried to identify the whistleblower despite having a conflict of interest in relation to the letter as it contained various allegations, some of which concerned himself.
In response, Staley said he was trying to protect a colleague who had experienced personal difficulties in the past from what he believed to be an "unfair personal attack"
In addition to the fine, Barclays is now subject to special requirements requiring it report annually to the regulators detailing how it handles whistleblowing, with personal attestations required from senior managers responsible for the relevant systems and controls.
Mark Steward, FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “Given the crucial role of the chief executive, the standard of due skill, care and diligence is more demanding than for other employees.
“Mr 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. 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.”
Sam Woods, deputy governor for prudential regulation and chief executive officer of the PRA, added: “Protection for whistleblowers is an essential part of keeping the financial system safe and sound. Mr Staley’s behaviour fell below the standard we require, resulting in today’s fine and public censure. In addition, Barclays is now subject to special requirements to report to the PRA and FCA how it handles its whistleblowing cases in the coming years.”