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Adapt or die, Barclays boss tells staff

Jan 17 2013 12:43 Reuters
antony jenkins

Antony Jenkins, CEO of British bank Barclays. (AFP)

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London - Barclays' new boss has told staff they should leave if they do not want to sign up to a set of standards aimed at rebuilding the British bank's reputation after a string of scandals. 

Antony Jenkins, who took over as chief executive at the end of August after the bank was rocked by an interest rate rigging scandal, said bonuses and performance would be assessed against a new "Purpose and Values" blueprint. 

"I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of you ... will enthusiastically support this move. But 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," Jenkins said in a memo to his 140 000 staff on Thursday. 

"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' reputation was hammered after it was fined £290m in June for rigging Libor interest rates, which unearthed long-standing concerns by Britain's financial regulator about its culture. 

It and other UK banks were also tarnished by scandals involving the mis-selling of financial products. 

Jenkins, who took over after Bob Diamond stepped down in the wake of the Libor scandal, said he was putting five values at the heart of his plan: respect, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship. 

He will unveil his strategic plans on February 12 - which he said would "excite" staff on what the future holds - but he added that setting new standards was equally important to the bank's long-term success. 

"The behavior which made those headlines in 2012 took place in the past. But it helped underline how banking as a whole had lost its way, and had lost touch with the values on which reputation and trust were built," he said in the memo. 

"Over a period of almost 20 years, banking became too aggressive, too focused on the short-term, too disconnected from the needs of our customers and clients, and wider society. We were not immune at Barclays from these mistakes." 

He said bankers pursued short-term profits at the expense of the values and reputation of the organisation, and in the coming weeks more than 1 000 staff would be trained to spread the new values and embed them throughout the bank. 

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

 

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barclays  |  libor scandal  |  banks
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