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Jes Staley's woeful Barclays interlude ends with FCA ban and fine

While everyone wonders whether Jes Staley did indeed have to repay $80m of bonuses to JPMorgan, the British Financial Conduct Authority has provided some certainty on another area of his finances: it's fining Staley £1.8m and banning him from holding a senior management or significant influence function in the financial services industry.

The ex-Barclays CEO and ex-head of JPMorgan’s private bank and wealth management division already had £22m of Barclays bonuses withheld which Barclays investigates his links to Jeffrey Epstein. 

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Therese Chambers, joint Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA said: “A CEO needs to exercise sound judgement and set an example to staff at their firm.  Mr Staley failed to do this. We consider that he misled both the FCA and the Barclays Board about the nature of his relationship with Mr Epstein."

Chambers added that Staley must, "be prevented from holding a senior position in the financial services industry if we cannot rely on him to act with integrity by disclosing uncomfortable truths about his close personal relationship with Mr Epstein.”

Staley, who described Epstein as one of “deepest” and “most cherished” friends in emails, has always denied anything untoward about his relationship with the alleged pedophile.

It's not clear whether Staley aspired to work in the UK financial services industry again anyway (unlikely) but that decision is now out of his hands. Staley stepped down as CEO from Barclays with immediate effect in November 2021 after Barclays was "made aware" that Staley was being investigated by the FCA and PRA. 

The FCA highlights a letter that Barclays sent to the FCA in 2019, in which Staley claimed to have ceased contact Epstein well before he joined Barclays and claimed that "he did not have a close relationship" with him. This "did not accurately reflect the true position," says the regulator. 

The FCA concludes that Staley, "acted recklessly and with a lack of integrity" and that he is therefore, "not a fit and proper person to perform the role of a CEO or any other senior management function at an authorised person, exempt person or exempt professional firm."

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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