Bank played coy during financial crisis, FCA says

Regulator seeks sanction for disclosure failings in 2008

By James Langton

The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has ruled that Barclays plc and Barclays Bank plc should be fined £50 million for alleged misconduct that occurred at the height of the financial crisis.

The FCA issued the finding in an enforcement action that stems from allegations that the bank concealed its dealings with certain Qatar-based firms when raising emergency capital at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

The regulator’s ruling is under appeal, as Barclays has referred the case to the Upper Tribunal, which will determine whether or not to uphold the FCA’s decisions. Therefore, the FCA’s findings are considered provisional.

In its ruling, the FCA said that Barclays failed to properly disclose dealings with Qatari firms, which saw it agree to pay £322 million to the Qatari firms in exchange for them participating in capital raisings.

“These payments were calculated specifically by reference to the Qataris’ financial demands for investing in the capital raisings, not the value of the advisory services that Barclays expected to receive under the agreements,” the regulator said.

Barclays “did not disclose the payments under the capital raisings or their connection to the Qatari entities’ participation in the capital raisings,” it said, adding that these disclosures would have been “highly relevant” information.

“Barclays’ failure to disclose these matters was reckless and lacked integrity and followed an earlier failure to disclose fees paid to Qatari investors,” said Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, in a release.

“There was no legitimate reason or excuse for failing to disclose these matters, certainly no basis for doing so because of the financial crisis. Due transparency is always critical to financial markets, especially in times of market or financial stress.”

Source: Investment Executive