Barclays has admitted it "terminated" the employment of five people involved in the Libor scandal and conceded it is reviewing as many as 80 other financial instruments where it helps to set the price.
Rich Ricci, the head of Barclays investment bank, revealed 13 staff had been disciplined in total – and said others who might have been subjected to the disciplinary process had already left by the time the Libor manipulation scandal broke, leading to the departure of chief executive Bob Diamond. Ricci told a sub-panel of the banking standards commission that some of those who had been dismissed were appealing.
Barclays declined to elaborate on the remarks by Ricci, who gave a strong indication that the investment bank – formerly known as Barclays Capital – was likely to withdraw from its controversial tax advisory business and some areas of commodities trading because of the damage being caused to its already battered reputation.
The government has begun a month-long consultation on changes to the law to make manipulating Libor a criminal offence.
The banking standards commission will take evidence from former bosses of HBOS – Sir James Crosby and Andy Hornby – next week, along with former chairman Lord Stevenson as it concludes its sub-panel review into the near collapse of the bank.
Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chairs the committee, said: "Two of these men [Hornby and Stevenson] were on the bridge when HBOS failed, when public money was needed to rescue it and when trust in our banking system – both within the industry and amongst the public – collapsed almost completely."
Ricci said the number of financial instruments where Barclays was involved in setting prices was "in the 80s". The bank is looking at areas across the firm where it was technically possible to have an opportunity to change prices and that these operations were under "heightened supervision".
He helped build up the investment bank over the past decade with Diamond and Jerry del Missier, who also left in the wake of the Libor scandal. He has almost completed a review, dubbed Project Mango, of the businesses he runs to assess the potential reputational hit they cause the bank even if they are profitable. The test, he said, was "if you read about the activity in a newspaper, would you be proud?" He indicated that bonuses were likely to take account of reputation, saying the bank was working "on a balanced score card around appraisals … to get all those interests properly aligned".
New chief executive Antony Jenkins, who used to run the retail bank, last week summoned the top 125 executives to a two-day meeting to discuss the culture of the bank. Ricci revealed that incidents at Barings, which collapsed under trading by Nick Leeson, had been discussed as well as events at Kodak, which was left behind in the move to digital cameras. Zoos were also part of the discussion, specifically "how they have been able to change by looking at ecosystems rather than just zoology animal things".
A heated exchange with Mike Walters, head of the bank's compliance department, sparked MP Mark Garnier to argue that banks should be broken up.
"I was in charge of compliance. I wasn't in charge of culture, that is the responsibility of everyone at Barclays," said Walters.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010