Barclays bankers face possible discipline, pay cuts for paperwork blunder

Barclays said some of its bankers may face disciplinary action and pay cuts after the firm agreed to a $361 million penalty to settle U.S. allegations that it failed to register billions of dollars worth of securities offerings.

The bank didn’t put in place a mechanism to track the sales as required by the Securities and Exchange Commission, even as managers had “consistently emphasized the importance of maintaining effective controls,” Barclays said Friday in a statement announcing the results of a review into the matter. Employees found responsible for the blunder could face internal repercussions.

Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

“The review’s findings will be used to consider individual accountabilities in relation to this matter and may include adjustments to remuneration, including to past variable remuneration, the potential for disciplinary action and performance management as appropriate,” Barclays said. Losses from the incident were in line with the bank’s previous guidance, the firm said.

The SEC said on Thursday that Barclays and its Barclays Bank Plc unit offered and sold “an unprecedented amount of securities” due to failures in its internal controls that were supposed to track transactions in real time. The bank was required to continually register offerings after losing a special frequent-issuer status with the agency in 2017.

Barclays didn’t do that and it ultimately offered and sold approximately $17.7 billion of securities in unregistered transactions, according to the SEC. “The scope of the conduct at issue here was simply staggering,” the regulator’s head of enforcement said Thursday.

On Friday, the bank said the “over-issuance” was in part due to senior executives not having been made aware of the impact of Barclays losing its special “well-known seasoned issuer” status with the SEC. After losing the special tag in 2017, Barclays was required to quantify anticipated offerings and pay registration fees.

The U.K. lender will pay a $200 million civil penalty to resolve the matter. Barclays has already taken a £165 million ($184 million) provision for the expected fine. The bank’s so-called rescission offer, which it completed earlier this month, satisfies the $161 million disgorgement and interest portion of the penalty, according to the SEC.

Barclays didn’t admit or deny the SEC’s allegations as part of its settlement with Wall Street’s main regulator.

— With assistance from Tom Metcalf.

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