Barclays Bank

Barclays chief tells staff to behave ethically or quit

Following its Libor scandal, new chief executive urges bank employees to follow code of conduct

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 January, 2013, 5:12am

Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins has ordered employees to sign up to a new ethical code of conduct or quit, as he seeks to draw a line under last year's damaging Libor manipulation crisis.

"We must never again be in a position of rewarding people for making the bank money in a way which is unethical or inconsistent with our values," he wrote in an internal memo issued to the banking group's 140,000 staff.

He added: "There might be some who don't feel they can fully buy in to an approach which so squarely links performance to the upholding of our values.

"My message to those people is simple: Barclays is not the place for you. The rules have changed. You won't feel comfortable at Barclays and, to be frank, we won't feel comfortable with you as colleagues."

Barclays slumped into crisis last June when it was fined £290 million (HK$3.6 billion) by British and US regulators for attempted manipulation of Libor and Euribor interbank rates between 2005 and 2009.

The Libor system was found to be open to abuse, with traders lying about borrowing costs to boost trading positions or make their bank seem more secure.

Jenkins has told staff that their performance would now be judged in a set of ethical standards that are centred on five key values: respect, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship.

"If we are serious about making sure we believe in these values and live by them, then we also need to make sure they play a big part in how we measure and reward individual and business performance," he wrote in the memo.

"Performance assessment will be based not just on what we deliver but on how we deliver it."

Jenkins added that there was "a tendency at times, manifest in all parts of the bank, to pursue short-term profits at the expense of the values and reputation of the organisation.

"In doing so we damaged our ability to make long-term sustainable returns," he said.

Last year's Libor scandal sparked the resignations of three senior Barclays board members, including ex-chief executive Bob Diamond. He was replaced by Jenkins, who was formerly head of retail and business banking.

Barclays is expected to reveal more details about the ethical code alongside its annual results, due on February 12.