14 April 2017

Barclays chief executive Jes Staley has had a chunk of his bonus taken back after he broke the bank's rules on whistleblowing by trying to identify the author of two anonymous letters, which were sent to the board and a senior executive last year.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) are both now investigating Mr Staley.

Barclays said that the chief executive had taken measures to identify the author of the letters because he considered them to be "an unfair personal attack on a senior employee".

They concerned someone Mr Staley had hired from his old firm, JP Morgan.

Mr Staley twice tried to use Barclay’s internal security team to track down the author of the letters but the bank said that an internal investigations had found that, in doing so, he acted "honestly but mistakenly".

Rita Trehan, formerly HR Director at Honeywell and a writer on whistleblowing, reacted to that finding by saying: "This scandal proves that companies need to be very clear on the purpose and governance process surrounding whistleblower policies. As the ultimate vanguard of a company's culture and ethics, CEOs must not simply endorse these policies, but understand how they are applied."

The focus now should not simply be ensuring that the right rules are put into place, she went on, but understanding how to reinforce a culture that is transparent, ethical and enables employees to raise concerns without fear of retribution.

It seems likely that the mistake will cost Mr Staley most of last year's £1.3 million deferred bonus.