James Moore: Don't let the City be a pressure cooker

James Moore@JimMooreJourno
Wednesday 16 October 2013 08:36

Outlook All best wishes to Sir Hector Sants, who has taken a temporary leave of absence from Barclays as a result of stress and exhaustion.

This shouldn't really come as any surprise. After a bruising five years as head of the Financial Services Authority, steering the defunct watchdog through the white hot flames of the financial crisis, he then took on the task of clearing Barclays' Augean stables as head of compliance.

What is welcome is that Barclays has at least been open about it. In previous epochs the issue may have been covered up, if a temporary departure were even possible.

It is to be hoped now that some good may come from this. Sir Hector's leave of absence has echoes of the temporary departure taken by Antonio Horta-Osorio, the chief executive of Lloyds, for apparently similar reasons.

But it's not just at the top that stress is a very real issue in financial services. It wasn't all that long ago we saw the tragic death of an intern at Bank of America Merrill Lynch after an "all-nighter". Of course, all this is nothing new. Stress and pressure have long been facts of life in the City. All the same, the bosses may want to reflect on whether they really get the best out of people as things are now. And how things might be done better in future.

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