Credit restorer.

AuthorHolmes, Lawrie

Profits are down at Barclays, yet bonus payments are up. For Antony Jenkins, group CEO of the beleaguered bank, this doesn't make the task of winning back hearts and minds any easier

ntony Jenkins is very much in the line of fire. When he accepted the job of group chief executive at Barclays in August 2012, a fresh start was clearly required, given the departures of his predecessor, Bob Diamond, and the chairman, Marcus Agius, over the Libor-rigging scandal. Jenkins' approach, set out in the wide-ranging transformation programme he launched in February 2013, sought greater accountability across the organisation by imposing more rigorous standards. The problem has been that the bank is also facing a series of other challenges, including investigations into its involvement in the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI), the US energy market and the sale of interest-rate swaps.

Jenkins has spent the past few months stressing that his industry, rocked by the scandals that have damaged not only Barclays but also several of its rivals, has a long way to go to recover the public's confidence. "It could take five to 10 years," he said in 2013. But he made that statement before yet more problems befell the bank this year, including the alleged sale of customers' account details.

Winning back hearts and minds is the basis of the transformation programme, which is still going to plan, according to Jenkins. This covers the "execution of the harder things, such as the running down of legacy asset positions, but also the implementation of the management framework around culture, values and the balanced scorecard," he says. "So all the things we said we were going to do last year we're basically on track to deliver."

Tarred with the same brush

Jenkins points out that other banks are grappling with historical problems, too. "There are several legacy issues that are going to be with us for years to come. They have long tails," he says. "Class actions around Libor will be with us for a decade and that's not unique to Barclays. The litany of legacy issues could be from any large bank."

The challenge for the transformation programme is twofold, he says. "One is that there are clearly activities that are illegal and against the regulations. For those activities we need to have stringent detective and protective controls in the organisation. Part of why I took compliance out of the legal function and made it a true second line of defence, reporting to me, was to improve the quality of those controls. But there are also decisions that people take that are in a much more ambiguous space. This is where culture comes into play. Culture provides both the oxygen...

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