CORPORATE PRACTICE
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Who Guards the Guardians?

A Better Culture of Compliance at Barclays Bank - 5-page Developing Leaders Extra supplement with insights on "Creating a Better Culture of Compliance"



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IEDP releases a series of pieces in between the quarterly publication of our magazine, Developing Leaders. This 5-page supplement with insights on ‘Creating a Better Culture of Compliance’ from Barclays and Cambridge Judge Business School is available for free download below.

Following the meltdown amongst the world's banks five years ago, much finger-pointing has taken place, as we strain to identify the main instigators of the crisis. Chief amongst these was a mixture of bank culture and the weakness of their systems to protect themselves from over-reaching. Part of this issue was the disconnect that the 'fee earners' in the bank had with the compliance side. The two sides stereotypically would see each other as 'the problem' and work at ways to 'solve' the others’ practices.

Barclays Bank was not immune from this situation and as part of its corporate repositioning in response to the banking crisis, under the then new (though now recently departed) CEO, Anthony Jenkins, instigated a program with Cambridge Judge Business School and its new centre for compliance research, to develop the business understanding of 2500 employees across its compliance department worldwide. This article explores the context and design of this huge program and looks at some of the impact it is already creating.

From the introduction:

"Quis custo diet ipsos custodies? Who guards the guardians?

The cloak of sombre piety donned by many when they roll out that phrase – the work of the scurrilous Roman satirist Juvenal – never entirely covers the tag’s origin in a ribald discussion of how to prevent lusty wives from straying with their strapping Syrian bodyguards.

In the not so distant past, customers at Barclays Bank may have felt they were getting similar treatment from those tasked with protecting their virtue. Scandals, resignations, regulatory enquiries, plunging stock values – each new revelation added thread to a growing narrative weave depicting Barclays’ staff as technically, ethically and culturally unable (unwilling even) to comply with either regulation or best practice."


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