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Culture Cover-Up: Fate Determined for Former Barclays Wealth COO

Upper Tribunal Decision Made

2nd September 2019

Last month, we finally learned of the fate for Mr Andrew Tinney, former Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Barclays Wealth Management (Barclays Wealth), whom we had previously written about in September 2016 in our article Culture & Regulatory Compliance: FCA seeks to ban former Barclays COO.

The FCA reports that following contested proceedings, the Upper Tribunal has found that Mr Tinney did indeed breach his obligation as an approved person to act with integrity.

As Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA commented, “'Senior management must be held to high standards of integrity which is the fundamental cornerstone of good conduct in trusted markets. Mr Tinney failed to act with integrity.”

In recap, back in 2012, in his position at Barclays Wealth, Mr Tinney received a document commissioned from an outside Consultancy that contained critical findings about the culture within Barclays Wealth’s US branch, Barclays Wealth Americas. Mr Tinney, being the sole recipient of this document, then took steps to cover-up this report to try and ensure that it did not come to light, even stating to others at Barclays “There has never been a Wealth Cultural Audit Report produced at any time” when the Chairman of Barclays received an anonymous email alleging that such a report had been suppressed.

The FCA’s Decision Notice on the matter in 2016 set out the regulator’s findings and recommendations that Mr Tinney should be publicly censured and banned from carrying out any senior management or Significant Influence functions in any regulated provider of financial services. However, Mr Tinney challenged the FCA’s decision causing the matter to be referred to the Upper Tribunal for both sides to present their case.

Upper Tribunal Decision on FCA Proposal for Public Censure & Ban

Following a hearing in 2018, the Upper Tribunal found that Mr Tinney was “reckless in giving the impression that the document did not exist” and therefore found that Mr Tinney's conduct “failed to meet the required standard of integrity”. However, after a separate hearing on sanctions in March this year, the Upper Tribunal determined that rather than prohibition, the appropriate sanction was for the FCA to publish a statement of Mr Tinney’s misconduct (a public censure), which the FCA have now done in issuing a Final Notice.

Senior Managers & Certification Regime

It should be noted that Mr Tinney’s actions preceded the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SM&CR) that introduces greater individual accountability within financial services firms and makes it easier  for the regulator to hold senior managers to account for failings. Had the same actions taken place after the SM&CR was in place then the outcome for Mr Tinney might have been very different.

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