Barclays to open compliance academy in face of international fines and criticism

The U.K. bank has been in a negative spotlight over the last year for its corruption and overspending on litigation

U.K.-based bank Barclays has been in the spotlight over the course of the last year for its extremely high litigation costs, regulatory fines, investigations, involvement in the Libor scandal, and charging traders with conspiracy. It’s own CEO forfeited his 2013 bonus as a symbol of his admittance and responsibility for the company’s careless spending. Indeed, its litigation costs increased 142 percent in 2013. But, amid such severe claims and high-profile cases, the bank has created a program to significantly increase its efforts to maintain compliance. 

A move such as this seems like a no-brainer for a company that has been pummeled with legal problems because of its corrupt activity and lack of compliance. The financial institution has revealed that it is launching a Compliance Career Academy to make changes to compliance and train employees at every location. Compliance Week quotes David Walker, Barclays chairman, in the company’s official statement:

“Strong and effective internal compliance is essential to ensuring banks operate in the right way. For the first time, the Compliance Career Academy sets a benchmark for compliance practitioners that I am confident will contribute to raising standards across the industry as a whole.”

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Further reading: 

Barclay's contractor-turned-whistleblower claims 'errors' in interest paid

Former Barclays traders face criminal charges for Libor manipulation

European Commission fines six companies for Libor manipulation

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So it looks as though Barclays is not just aiming to train its own employees to avoid the massive numbers of legal snafus it has wrestled with, but will set a stage for other companies to engage in a standardized form of compliance for their own businesses. The program is in conjunction with the U.K.’s Cambridge Judge Business School, and begins with an established Centre for Compliance and Trust.

While a benchmark platform program to establish better internal compliance is always a good thing, it is traditionally needed the most by financial institutions. And Barclays is clearly no exception. Could it be that the company is trying to save some face by establishing a training program to assure of its legitimacy in the face of brand-damaging court cases and international fines? Perhaps it is a big move to appease shareholders.

Contributing Author

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Juliana Kenny

Juliana Kenny is a contributor to InsideCounsel.com, covering a range of topics including patent litigation, conflict mineral laws, executive compensation, and antitrust regulation. Juliana earned B.A.s...

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