The Times, December 2012 – Stephen Gilchrist comments re Hector Sants appointment to Barclays
FSA chief Hector Sants to ensure compliance at Barclays
Barclays has appointed Hector Sants as its compliance chief six months after his departure from the Financial Services Authority, the bank said yesterday.
Mr Sants, an investment banker for most of his career, left the chief executive's role at the FSA at the end of June but is being paid by the watchdog until the end of the year. He will become head of compliance and government and regulatory relations and join the bank's executive committee. He will report directly to Antony Jenkins, the group chief executive, and oversee all compliance activities at Barclays.
Mr Sants is understood to have checked the propriety of the appointment with the FSA. He will not work on behalf of the bank on any issue with the FSA involving investigations that were taking place while he worked for the regulator.
One of the main challenges for Barclays will be in the United States, where it is facing questions over negotiations with Qatar for a cash injection at the height of the financial crisis, as well as the alleged manipulation of electricity prices.
Barclays said that this meant, for the first time, that all compliance staff would report to one individual and operate independently of business and regional management teams.
Mr Sants will be responsible for ensuring that the conduct of all staff is consistent with the bank's purpose and values, as well as the spirit and letter of the law and the expectations of regulators where Barclays operates.
Mr Sants will also take on responsibility for the bank's relationships with governments and regulators around the world. He will take up his post on January 21.
Mr Sants said: "I left the FSA with the intention of finding a role which would allow me to put into practice the experience I have gained in the public and private sector. I am delighted to have been asked to create and implement a new compliance concept and approach which will be central to the cultural change already under way at the bank."
Stephen Gilchrist, chairman and head of regulatory law, Saunders Law, said: "Appointing Hector Sants as head of compliance is a bit like Mary Queen of Scots appointing her executioner to represent her best interests. Talk about gamekeeper turned poacher!
"A pat on the back to Barclays for the sheer gall and a brazen effort to retrieve some of the credibility the bank has lost in the past couple of years. Full marks for sheer effrontery."