Whistleblowers 11: the ones that got away?
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In Britain whistleblowers are usually made to suffer, despite the nicknamed ‘Whistle-blowers Act’: There have been several general articles about whistleblowing on this site & others focussing on some brave individuals who suffered for revealing unwelcome truths. Before this site was set up there were health sector whistleblowers; Marta Andreasen & Paul van Buitenen also revealed shocking cases of EU financial mismanagement and suffered for it.
Just for the record – covered profusely in MSM:
Professor Prem Sikka tweeted about a case involving Barclays chief executive Jes Staley, who started to work for Barclays in December 2015 and later recruited at least four senior executives who had worked with him at JPMorgan Chase. In June, when Barclays received two anonymous letters making allegations of what the bank describes as “a personal nature” about one of the investment bankers, Mr Staley asked Barclays’ security team to track down the author, though the bank’s compliance department had logged the letters as potential whistleblowing.
Barclays’ board only learnt of Mr Staley’s efforts to identify the tipster in January when a second whistleblower, this time a Barclays’ employee, came forward and directly contacted its outside directors. In a letter, the Barclays employee pointed to flaws in the bank’s whistle-blower procedures and cited Mr. Staley’s attempts to unveil the anonymous critic.
The bank said it had instructed law firm Simmons & Simmons to conduct an investigation which found that Mr Staley erred in trying to identify the authors of the letters, who in the end were not unmasked. Barclays’ board also informed the FCA and PRA. Barclays said it has given Staley a formal written warning and will slash his salary. The bank has promised to review its whistleblowing programme.
The Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority are now looking into the matter in Britain, while New York’s Department of Financial Services and the US Department of Justice are conducting investigations in the United States.
Paul Moore, a former HBOS banker, was dismissed from HBOS in the run-up to the financial crisis in 2004 for whistleblowing – warning that the bank was running risks it did not understand. He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Staley should be fired. Trying to find out the identity of an anonymous whistleblower where the motivation is obviously to try to crush them is gross misconduct.’
It requires real courage for whistleblowers to act on what they see, especially in the UK. One FT article notes that a recent survey by the Ethics Resource Centre of employees in 13 countries found that 63% of British employees who reported wrongdoing experienced retaliation, second only to India and far worse than the 36 per cent global average – More detail here:
Posted on April 20, 2017, in Banking, Banking and finance, Revolving door, Whistleblowers and tagged anonymous letters, ‘Whistle-blowers Act’:, Barclays, Financial Conduct Authority. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.