Sign up to new code of conduct or quit, Barclays' staff told


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The Independent Online

Barclays' staff were today told to sign up to an ethical code of conduct or quit, as part of the bank's crusade to repair its battered reputation.

In a memo sent to the bank's 140,000 employees worldwide, new chief executive Antony Jenkins said performance would be judged on a set of ethical standards in an attempt to overhaul the culture in the wake of its Libor-rigging scandal.

The banks' new code of conduct will centre on five values - respect, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship.

Mr Jenkins said: "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."

Mr Jenkins took over at the helm in August from predecessor Bob Diamond, who resigned after the bank was fined £290 million by regulators in the UK and United States for attempting to manipulate the interbank lending rate Libor.

Barclays has come under heavy fire from critics over its alleged culture of focusing on short-term profits and bonuses, as well as its processes and controls that failed to prevent the scandal.

Mr Jenkins said there was "a tendency at times, manifest in all parts of the bank, to pursue short-term profits at the expense of the values and reputation of the organisation".

"In doing so we damaged our ability to make long-term sustainable returns," he added.

He laid down an ultimatum for staff to adhere to the new values or find jobs elsewhere.

He said: "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.

"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."

The bank's forthcoming bonus round will come under particular scrutiny given last year's run of reputational blows, including mis-selling of payment protection insurance and interest rate swaps to small businesses.

Barclays told staff today what grades they achieved for 2012, which will have a direct bearing on how their bonuses are calculated, but the final pot will not be disclosed until its annual results next month.

Wall Street banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase yesterday reignited the debate over bonuses as they announced sharp increases.

Goldman, which has nearly 6,000 staff in the UK and 32,400 worldwide, announced a 6% hike in its pay and bonus bill for 2012, to 12.9 billion US dollars (£8.1 billion), which equates to an average of 400,000 US dollars (£250,000) for each of its employees.

JP Morgan's staff salary and bonus costs leapt 5% to 30.6 billion dollars (£19.1 billion).

But Mr Jenkins signalled a step-change in how staff are rewarded at Barclays under his plan to make it a "values-driven" and "valuable" business.

He has already hired former Financial Services Authority boss Sir Hector Sants to the newly-created role of head of compliance and it is believed the ex-watchdog has also been tasked with helping rewrite the bank's pay strategy.

More details on the group's ethical code are expected alongside the results on February 12, while findings of an independent review being carried out by City lawyer Anthony Salz into culture and business practices at the bank are due before the bank's annual shareholder meeting in April.