FCA decides to fine and ban James Staley

Mr Staley has referred his Decision Notice to the Upper Tribunal where he will present his case. Any findings in the Decision Notice are therefore provisional and reflect the FCA’s belief as to what occurred and how it considers his behaviour should be characterised.

The FCA has decided to fine former CEO of Barclays, James Staley, £1.8 million and ban him from holding a senior management or significant influence function in the financial services industry.

The FCA has found that Mr Staley recklessly approved a letter sent by Barclays to the FCA, which contained two misleading statements, about the nature of his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and the point of their last contact.

Therese Chambers, joint Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA said: 'A CEO needs to exercise sound judgement and set an example to staff at their firm. Mr Staley failed to do this. We consider that he misled both the FCA and the Barclays Board about the nature of his relationship with Mr Epstein.

'Mr Staley is an experienced industry professional and held a prominent position within financial services. It is right to prevent him from holding a senior position in the financial services industry if we cannot rely on him to act with integrity by disclosing uncomfortable truths about his close personal relationship with Mr Epstein.'

In August 2019, the FCA asked Barclays to explain what it had done to satisfy itself that there was no impropriety in the relationship between Mr Staley and Mr Epstein. In its response, Barclays relied on information supplied by Mr Staley. Mr Staley confirmed the letter was fair and accurate.

The letter claimed that Mr Staley did not have a close relationship with Mr Epstein. In reality, in emails between the two Mr Staley described Mr Epstein as one of his 'deepest' and 'most cherished' friends.

The letter from Barclays to the FCA also claimed Mr Staley ceased contact with Mr Epstein well before he joined Barclays. However, Mr Staley was in fact in contact with Mr Epstein in the days leading up to his appointment as CEO being announced on 28 October 2015. Mr Staley joined Barclays in December 2015.

While Mr Staley did not draft the letter there was no excuse for his failure to correct the misleading statements when he was the only person at Barclays who knew the full extent of his personal relationship with Mr Epstein and the specific timings of his contact with him. The FCA has found that Mr Staley was aware of the risk that his association with Mr Epstein posed to his career.

The FCA considers that, in failing to correct the misleading statements in the letter, Mr Staley recklessly misled the FCA and acted with a lack of integrity.

Notes to editors

  1. The Decision Notice for Mr Staley.
  2. The FCA and PRA previously took action against Mr Staley.