Top executive suppressed report damning Barclays

Bank boss leaves after hiding criticism of 'revenue at all costs' strategy at US Wealth arm
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The Independent Online

Barclays was hit by further damaging revelations about the culture that was allowed to flourish in certain parts of the bank yesterday after it emerged that a senior executive had suppressed a damaging report into Barclays Wealth in America.

The report, compiled by consultancy firm Genesis Ventures, was said by a Sunday newspaper to have sharply criticised a "revenue at all costs" strategy and a "culture that is high-risk and actively hostile to compliance".

Management was said to have "ruled with an iron fist", acting to remove "any intervention from those who speak up in opposition". Genesis Ventures' report was initially only supplied to Andrew Tinney, chief operating officer of the private investment division, and he suppressed it. His departure was announced to staff in an email a week ago, and it is understood he did not receive a pay-off.

The revelations come days after new chief executive Antony Jenkins wrote to all 140,000 staff members, telling them that if they didn't buy into his clean-up plan, they would be kicked out. He is due to unveil a new strategy in February, which will see the bank pulling out of more controversial businesses such as tax planning. Staff at Canary Wharf are said to be nervously awaiting a fresh round of lay-offs.

The revelations follow The Independent's exclusive interview with a whistleblower last July in which he talked of a culture of fear at the investment banking division. The Independent has since talked to several other former members of staff at the division who told similar stories.

One said yesterday: "This backs up what I have been saying. The attitude and ethics of the big guys up top more than filtered to the bottom."

Any rule breaches brought to light by such a report would be seized on by regulators who fined the bank £290m after its traders were found to have attempted to manipulate Libor interest rates last year.

Last night, however, people close to the bank stressed Mr Tinney's departure was a reflection of the reforms being pushed through by Mr Jenkins, and the report showed that he was serious. A Barclays spokesman said Mr Jenkins had "acknowledged clearly last week" that transformation of the bank's culture was "imperative".

"Independent reports, like the one commissioned in early 2012 for Barclays Wealth in America, are intended to identify areas where change is required and to recommend remedial steps. These types of exercise never result in comfortable reading, but we have been, and will, remain absolutely committed to taking the necessary steps to address the issues raised," he said.