Barclays CEO Jes Staley, who resigned last month, was given a “remedial action” warning by the UK’s financial regulator for his ties to Jeffrey Epstein. According to the Financial Times, the warning came after an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) into Staley’s relationship with the disgraced financier.
The FCA found that Staley had breached conduct rules that require senior managers to act with integrity and to be open and cooperative with regulators. Staley had maintained a professional relationship with Epstein despite being advised to cut ties with him, and had also misled the Barclays board and the FCA about the extent of their relationship.
Staley’s resignation from Barclays, which he had led since 2015, came as a surprise to many in the industry. He had previously said he intended to stay on until at least 2023. Staley has not commented on the FCA’s findings.
The case is likely to reignite debate over the accountability of senior bankers and the role of regulators in enforcing conduct standards. The FCA has faced criticism in recent years for its perceived reluctance to take action against senior bankers in the wake of the financial crisis. However, the Staley case shows that regulators are willing to take a tough line on misconduct, even at the highest levels of management.