Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Barclay's Jenkins involvement in mis-selling payment protection insurance undermines credibility

As he rolled out his plan for restructuring Barclays and changing its culture, Anthony Jenkins conceded that he had been involved in mis-selling payment protection insurance.

With this concession, Mr. Jenkins confirmed that the restructuring and push to change Barclays' culture is nothing more than PR.

According to a Guardian article,
Conceding he had been involved in mis-selling payment protection insurance, he said: 
"I take responsibility for my role."
Most people outside of a bank would think that taking responsibility for an activity that cost Barclays £1.6 billion this past quarter alone would mean Mr. Jenkins was dismissed or at a minimum voluntarily resigned.

But not at Barclays or apparently the UK financial regulators who concern themselves with the fitness for purpose of senior bank management (oops, I forgot, this is where the former head of the UK's FSA, the regulators who are suppose to oversee banks in the UK, Hector Sants landed an impressive pay package).

Overseeing an area that engages in an activity like mis-selling payment protection insurance is a necessary qualification to become the head of Barclays.

After all, Barclays needs someone at the top of the shop who understands that banker pay comes first and the easiest way to increase banker pay is by mis-selling products to Barclays' customers.

Jenkins presented his strategy in the Royal Horticultural Halls, where the walls were emblazoned with the bank's values – respect, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship. 
"This is not window dressing or PR," he said....
In the absence of Barclays adopting transparency as the foundation on which it conducts its business, all Mr. Jenkins had to offer was window dressing and PR.
On the BBC's Today programme earlier, Jenkins said: "It will take years before people change their impression of us. I'm not daunted by that at all".
There is absolutely nothing that Mr. Jenkins said or did that would cause anyone to change their opinion in a favorable fashion.  So there is no reason to think people will ever change their impression of Barclays.
Asked about US investment bankers who have sneered at his new approach to ethics, he said: "I understand that what I'm laying out is not for everybody".
I wonder if the US investment bankers who are sneering because they realize Mr. Jenkins approach to ethics is all rhetoric.  After all, Mr. Jenkins conceded that he is one of them in extracting money from a customer by presiding over the mis-selling of payment protection insurance.
He said staff should no longer sell products that are not good for customers in an effort to avoid a rerun of the PPI scandal. "I've been very clear that we have to run this business in way that delivers for our customers and their clients. If they don't want to do that then they should leave Barclays," Jenkins said. 
As I have said repeatedly, if Mr. Jenkins wanted to be credible when he talked about selling products that were good for Barclays customers and clients he would start the conversation by saying that a key feature of everything Barclays will do or sell will be transparency.

Mr. Jenkins would be saying how customers, clients and shareholders would be provided access to all the useful, relevant information in an appropriate, timely manner so they could independently assess Barclays and the products it sells and make a fully informed decision.
"Believe me, I understand the cynics and the sceptics out there but cynics haven't achieved anything," he said.
Your humble blogger is expressing neither cynicism nor skepticism, I am simply analyzing what Mr. Jenkins is saying and doing by comparing it to what needs to be done if real change is to be brought to Barclays or any of the other large global financial institutions.

The conclusion of the analysis is that at best we are talking about window dressing and PR because the effort lacks the crucial element, a commitment to transparency, that would result in real change.

1 comment:

Daryl said...

Informative post. I always like to read quality content having accurate information regarding the subject and the same thing I found in this post. Nice work. Anthony Jenkins' involvement in mis-selling PPI have been a huge issue in UK. Thanks for sharing.