Posts Tagged ‘barclays’
Barclays have been slapped with a whopper of a fine – to the tune of £72 million – by the Financial Conduct Authority. Why? The FCA say that the bank “ignored its own process” when handling a £1.9bn transaction for a group of people described as ‘wealthy and politically connected’.
*Harry Hill sideways look to camera*
The FCA said that Barclays “went to unacceptable lengths to accommodate the clients” and didn’t carry out sufficient checks on the deal which meant they “failed to minimise the risk that it may be used to facilitate financial crime.”
This transaction went through in 2011/12, and Barclays executives knew it involved “politically exposed people”, which should’ve seen the company being extra careful and monitored things more closely.
However, it turns out that the bank rushed the whole thing through, and made themselves £52.3m in revenue as a result. UK banks are supposed to be extra vigilant when it comes to doing transactions for those “who may be able to abuse their public position for private gain”, in a bid to reduce the risk of bribery and such.
The FCA found no involvement of financial crime in the transaction, and haven’t said who was involved. Either way, this penalty is the largest imposed by the FCA or its predecessor for financial crime failings. Barclays had to hand over the money they made from this dicky looking deal, and were fined £20m on top.
Mark Steward, from the FCA said: “Barclays ignored its own process designed to safeguard against the risk of financial crime and overlooked obvious red flags to win new business and generate significant revenue. This is wholly unacceptable. Firms will be held to account if they fail to minimise financial crime risks appropriately and for this reason the FCA has required Barclays to disgorge its revenue from the transaction.”
Barclays are looking at another huge fine of $100 million (£65.7 million) as they in a settlement with the New York financial regulator, as they try to sort out the mess they made after they rigged foreign exchange markets.
Now, this is from a ‘person familiar with the matter’, so we can’t say this is definitely happening, but Barclays could be making this settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services in the next few weeks.
The bank already agreed to pay $120 million earlier in the month to settle private American litigation case, which had accused Barclays of conspiring rig Libor rates with their rivals. Back in May, they also agreed to fork out $650 million relating to forex trading.
According to Moody’s, the total cost of litigation faced by banks since the 2008 financial crisis is somewhere in the region of $219bn, which is a staggering amount of money. The majority of fines has been slapped over American banks, but now, they’re hitting European banks hard. The whole thing is a complete mess.
David Fanger, Moody’s senior vice-president, said: “At this point, probably, European banks are more vulnerable because US banks have [already] taken more of the provisions.”
The bank has been hit with a technical problem which stopped a number of payments going through, which started on Saturday and continued into yesterday (and in some cases, today too) thanks to some routine maintenance that happened thanks to the clocks going back.
A Barclays spokesperson said: “We can confirm that customer services are now recovering from the outage we experienced yesterday. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused.”
On social media, some customers were worried that this was all the result of a cyber attack, after the massive hack over at TalkTalk. It wasn’t. Stop being so jumpy. The Barclays spokesperson confirmed it wasn’t a cyber attack, should you need the official word on it.
So worry not. Everything should be working AOK with your account now. If not, you might have spent all your money on kebabs and tinfoil hats.
If you are not familiar with this service, it was pretty much a daily deals site but in amongst the tablet cases, charging cables and generic tech offers, they had some pretty impressive offerings including Tesco Grocery gift cards and Starbucks credit for half the price.
Also closing is their “Beat My Price” product which they use to undercut retailers and give you a better price on a particular product.
Why are they shutting this down? Well, no one is too sure yet. They did say:
“Following an internal review we have announced the closure of our Digital Marketplace business (incorporating our bespoke offers and Beat My price products).
“Our decision to close the businesses was taken after a detailed review of the financial performance to date and against their potential to deliver acceptable returns in the future.
“The business will cease to trade with effect from Monday 26 October. Any transactions that have occurred but not yet been fulfilled will of course be honoured.”
If you’ve got an existing order, that should be honoured and voucher expiry dates will proceed as stated. However, we expect more information to be made available between now and the end of Monday.
When Barclays hired the axeman who sends everyone scurrying to the job centre website, he wasted little time in banning jeans and flip-flops from the company. Now, John McFarlane is at it again, this time, axing Barclays’ fleet of black executive cars.
That’s not because he wants the top brass to catch the bus – he just doesn’t like black cars. He’s ordered a load of silver limousines in their place. Why? Because he’s bang into feng shui. He sounds a bit crackers, doesn’t he?
It would appear that McFarlane wants everyone’s chi to be in good order and that silver or grey vehicles are a sure fire way of bringing harmony to all.
Now, it would appear that Barclays renew the lease on its executive cars every few years, so this isn’t totally cuckoo, but the introduction of an entirely silver fleet of executive cars is something that the chairman wished for.
McFarlane has previous of course. A former, irritated executive at ANZ in Australia said: “He loved that sort of stuff. I guess I am a different person. It worked for him but it wasn’t for me,” said Steve Targett. ”I didn’t need to see the feng shui consultant come around and put little elephants in the corner of my office and tell me to give money to 10 beggars in 10 days and the like, otherwise I would have bad luck. I’m not that sort of person.”
Isn’t it comforting to know that people at the top of the finance world are so eccentric?
Barclays bank have decided that their workplaces are getting a bit too yacht rock for their liking, and have decided to ban loads of casual items of clothing. This is all down to their new executive chairman John McFarlane, who presumably prefers the whole soul-revue look, with suits and shoes.
In a memo sent by Amer Sajed, interim CEO of Barclaycard, McFarlane has said that he’s pleased with the culture at the bank, but that everyone needed to smarten up. McFarlane will not be tolerating jeans, flip flops, trainers or t-shirts being worn at their headquarters in Canary Wharf.
This’ll be news to the Barclaycard staff, where everything is a bit more laid-back when it comes to dress code. They’re going on like they work for Google or something.
At the HQ, staff are even banned from wearing flip flops even on dress down Fridays. John McFarlane either loathes toes more than your average man, or he’s not able to control himself around people’s feet. We just don’t know.
The memo reads: ”As the worldwide headquarters of the Barclays group, One Churchill Place is an important and iconic building. With key client representatives and high profile guests regularly visiting the building it’s important that we present the right image of the business and that colleagues working in 1CP [1 Churchill Place] represent Barclays at its best.”
“Now defining ‘business casual’ is not easy – just try Googling the term to see what I mean! – but if you work on the premise that the overall objective is to project a professional, business-like image without being obliged to wear formal business attire then you should be fine. Principally it means no jeans, t-shirts, trainers or flip-flops (although – with the exception of flip-flops – more casual dress is acceptable on a Friday).”
“There are no plans to change any other aspects of the working environment or culture in 1CP or indeed the dress code in other offices – on the contrary, John McFarlane, Barclays’ Executive Chairman, has been enormously complimentary about the energy, culture and entrepreneurial spirit of our business and is very supportive of our growth agenda.”
So what’s the problem? Well, they’ve confirmed that they’ve still got a lot of mess to clean up, from their errors in the past, adding £1bn to their cock-up pot.
Barclays said £250m has been put to one side for customer redress on packaged bank accounts, which basically means that they’re sorting out allegations of misselling. They’ve also kept £750m aside over the PPI scandal.
In total, they have a bill of £6bn for all the stuff they’ve messed-up on.
John McFarlane, the person who replaced Jenkins earlier this month, said that the bank need to get their act together, and that they need to “accelerate growth in earnings”, cut costs, and “streamline and eliminate unnecessary and cumbersome bureaucracy”. ”There is a lot we can do to accelerate our progress and the work has already begun,” said Mr McFarlane.
There’s been rumours doing the rounds that suggest Barclays might have to axe up to 30,000 jobs too, which is lousy news indeed.
The huge redundancy programme is the only way Barclays can sort out their dire underperformance, according to senior sources at the bank, say The Times. It seems the bank think this is the best way to hit their goal of doubling their share price.
This follows the sacking of chief executive Antony Jenkins, with the majority of the job cuts hitting those who work in middle management and in the back office.
It has generally been a tough period for the bank, after the Libor scandal and the worldwide financial mess that botched the economy. Only last April, Barclays reported that their net after-tax profit sank 52% year-on-year.
Weeks ago, Barclays announced that they’re going to sell their American wealth and investment management business to Stifel for an undisclosed amount.
These cuts could see Barclays with a workforce of under 100,000 people – the bank is shrinking before our very eyes.
It is all go in the banking world, with loads of fines still being handed out, notably with Barclays. With that, Antony Jenkins has been given the chop as the boss of the bank, just three years into the job, after he got promoted after the Libor scandal.
The job is being given to the new chairman, John McFarlane, who is the new guy in the office after he got the gig in April. It is thought that this will only be a temporary role.
Sir Mike Rake, who happens to be a senior independent director at Barclays, said: “I reflected long and hard on the issue of group leadership and discussed this with each of the non-executive directors. Notwithstanding Antony’s significant achievements, it became clear to all of us that a new set of skills were required for the period ahead. This does not take away from our appreciation of Antony’s contribution at a critical time for the company.”
That’s the fancy business way of palming someone off by saying: ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’
So what has Jenkins been doing to get him the sack? Well, he was trying to restore Barclay’s reputation by cutting back the investment banking operations which had caused a lot of the scandals surrounding Libor rigging. One thing that didn’t go down well was to increase bonuses at the company, when profits had dropped through the floor. He wanted to stop an exodus of staff with money – a lot of people thought he was taking the piss.
That leaves McFarlane walking into a job after the board have ousted the old boss, just like he did when he became a bigwig at Aviva where he stepped in after a load of sackings. If you’re the big cheese on a board and you see Jack McFarlane walk into the office, you’d be wise to get straight on the job centre website.
McFarlane said: “Whilst it is unfortunate that I have had little time to work with Antony, I respect and endorse the position of the board in deciding that a change in leadership is required at this time. I would add my personal thanks for everything that Antony has done for us. He can be proud of his heritage, especially his excellent work on culture and values that we will continue. I wish him well.”
“Arriving at Barclays with a fresh perspective, it is evident that we have a standout brand with first-class retail, commercial and investment banking businesses. Nevertheless, we are leaving value on the table and a new approach is required. As a group, if we aspire to bring shareholder returns forward, we need to be much more focused on what is attractive, what we are good at, and where we are good at it.”
Even though there’s loads of ways of paying for things via ways that aren’t cheques, Barclays are seemingly reluctant to let them go, as they roll out their ‘cheque imagining’ service a million more of its customers.
What’s all this about? Well, you can pay in cheques by taking a photograph of it, rather than walking to a branch with it in your hand. Of course, this has been around on iPhone for a while, but now, it is on Android, on the back of nearly £750,000 deposited through the service.
This technology lets you pay in cheques worth (up to) £500, and the money is available to spend immediately.
Normally, a cheque takes a couple of days to go through clearing. If your cheque bounces, then you are notified and the money is removed from your account. Some of you are already thinking of ways to bend the rules on this, we can tell.
On its terms and conditions, it says: “You authorise us to take a cheque payment back out of your Barclays account – even if we have allowed you to make a payment or take cash out against it.”
This ruling allows for cheques accidentally paid into the wrong too, so that’s something.
Ashok Vaswani, Barclays personal and corporate banking chief executive, said: “Our customers have welcomed this convenient new way of depositing one of the oldest forms of payment, which is why extending to android phones is an important step forward in giving all customers the ability to pay in cheques using their mobile devices.”
There’s increased interest in paying for things contactlessly (yes, that’s a dreadful and clunky word, but we’re sticking with it), and Apple’s moves in the area are only going to see that increase.
Of course, Barclaycard have been supporting contactless tech for a while now, but they recently pulled their products as they wanted to do something new. And lo, they came back with three new products to help you pay for things with gadgets (and no, we’re not talking about those silly, silly gloves they were looking at).
Barclaycard is releasing three wearable bPay devices, in the form of a wristband, a fob and a sticker. While these might seem familiar to you, Barclaycard assure us that these are different.
For starters, the money botherers have launched a new website and app which allow bPay fanciers to transfer money into their digital wallet, look at their purchases and change payment settings for each individual device. And you don’t have to be a Barclays or Barclaycard customer to use them – if you have a UK-issued Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card, you can try these out.
Barclays won’t be supporting Apple Pay just yet, but eventually they will. It looks like they’ve been too busy tinkering with their own thing to be sorting out stuff for another company.
All three devices will go on sale via the bPay website from July 1st and they’ll cost you. For a sticker, you’ll pay £14.99 for the sticker, £19.99 for the fob and for the wristband, that’ll be £24.99 please.
Payments are limited to £20, and from September, that goes up to £30.
The watchdog is handing out a fine that tops the penalties tha other banks paid out to the regulator last year.
This comes as part of more than £4bn in fines expected to be doled out on Wednesday for Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS, JPMorgan and Citigroup. While other establishments settled in 2014, Barclays decided not to.
Thanks to this, they missed out on a 30% reduction that everyone else received, leaving them paying more than the record fine that UBS paid in November, when they coughed-up £234m.
Barclays will also have to settle with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, so this is going to hit them square in the coffers, and hard.
Altogether, the fines for libor rigging lies somewhere in advance of £6bn, and the whole thing isn’t even done with yet. When it all ends, it will only add to an already dizzying amount of money.
The majority of the fine given to the FCA will go to the Treasury, with George Osborne most likely to announce how he’ll be spending the money in July at an emergency budget.
Barclays part in the manipulation of foreign exchange rates is still hanging over the bank, and they’ve yet to settle – unlike the other institutions who have been implicated - with the Financial Conduct Authority or American authorities.
This means they’re looking at a massive, massive bill. Barclays have put aside another £800m, which takes the bank’s total bill for the scandal in excess of £2bn. Other banks, such as RBS and HSBC have already been hit with fines worth billions.
This week, Barclays had to set aside a further £150m for PPI compensation.
Chief executive Antony Jenkins said: “Resolving legacy conduct issues is also an important part of our plan to transform Barclays. We are working hard to expedite their settlement and have taken further provisions of £800m this quarter, primarily relating to foreign exchange.”
What will stick in the craw of the lender is that they’ve actually been performing reasonably well. If you take away all the money they’ve put away for previous offences, they’d be making a decent profit.
If you adjust the profits by taking out their forex and PPI bills, they will have seen a rise of 9% to £1.85bn, which is just ahead of forecasts.
Jenkins added: “This further demonstrates that the Transform strategy is working and, while there is more to do, the business is starting to realise its potential.”
Crucially, this doesn’t include PPI nonsense. This is looking at the day-to-day bank stuff, and Barclays are coming up short it seems.
Complaints rose to 1,124,622, which is a 1% increase between the first and second halves of 2014. The good news for the banks is that, when you factor in complaints relating to PPI, figures actually decreased by 7% between Q1 and Q2 of 2014. Compared to 2013, stats show a drop of 12%. So that’s something.
Barclays topped the complaints list, followed by Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, HSBC and then NatWest.
“Today’s statistics offer a mixed picture. When you take PPI out of the equation, complaints are still on the up. So, while the overall decreases we have seen should be welcomed there is still more for financial services firms to do,” says FCA’s director of strategy and competition, Christopher Woolard.
As a result of analysing the complaints, the FCA have proposed a reduction in the time a consumer has to wait before approaching the Ombudsman and banning the use of premium rate phone numbers for those wanting to bring up concerns with their bank.
Well, they introduced to allow their customers to have a digital face-to-face service, which they reckon is a watershed moment for the industry. Now you can actually see the people in the call centre! Amazing. No one’s going to regret that at all and it definitely won’t be taken advantage of by bored teenagers who like trolling people.
The service, will enable customers to video call Barclays from their smartphone, tablet or computer 24/7, “completely on their terms.”
Try it. Come in from a night on the ales and call them at 4am.
Available first to Premier customers on 8th December, the service will be rolled out to other customers in early 2015.
The bank had originally trialled it and all went well, so right now this is what’s happening.
Steven Cooper, chief executive officer, personal banking, said soppily “For the important moments, you just can’t beat face to face conversations, yet traditional branch opening hours don’t always give customers that choice.”
“In addition to the availability of our staff in our branches, over the phone or online, we are combining our dedicated staff with digital technology to bring this facility to customers wherever they are and at a time they choose – putting them in control of when and where they want to do their banking.”
‘The important moments’. Good lord.