The level of effort that Barclays has put into in order to try and reform its image following the Libor scandal was revealed in greater detail at the Banking Standards Commission yesterday, as Rich Ricci, the man tasked with cleaning up the bank, gave information to the MPs that make up the commission.
He revealed that five employees had so far been sacked by the bank for their involvement and that others were under investigation. There were also measures being taken to ensure that the other rates which barclays had a hand in setting, be they for loans, currency markets, energy prices or anything else that could potentially be manipulated, had not been exposed to the same sort of scheming that saw the Libor rates balloon to the bank’s benefit.
It was an interesting session at the commission, with Ricci under a lot of pressure from MPs to answer why this was allowed to happen in the first place and why more authority had not been exerted over the bank’s traders. However, Ricci gave the same sort of answers we’ve heard before, about traders largely operating independently and there being little oversight, something that MPs seem reluctant to believe.
The other issues that arose were those surrounding Barclays’ public image, and Ricci revealed that he had been going through departments and ensuring that they were operating in a way that was ethical. He had also closed down some sections of their business entirely, even though they were profitable, in order to make Barclays look better to the public. He said that his rule was “if you read about the activity in a newspaper, would you be proud?”
Whether this course of action will work is yet to be seen, but anything Barclays does to stop future dents to its reputation can only be a good thing for them.