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Barclays: Move along, (almost) nothing to see here

Jes Staley gets to stay in his job, but his difficulties don't end with one investigation


It is a measure of the strange world in which banks and their chief executives operate that this morning’s news that the head of Barclays is to be fined by two UK regulators looks somehow like a good result.

Good for the firm, in that no institutional failure has been identified that would warrant punishment. And good again in that it saves Barclays (for now) from the upheaval of another change at the top.

Good for Jes Staley, the chief executive in question, in that he keeps his job. He was appointed a few months after John Cryan at Deutsche Bank back in 2015 – for the moment, at least, he’s sitting slightly prettier than his former peer at the German bank, unceremoniously booted out earlier this month. The management meltdown that’s going on in Frankfurt right now is a nasty reminder of how these things can snowball.

Good for Staley again in that he has basically been judged a bit clueless rather than lacking in integrity – which would likely have been much harder to wash away with a mere fine. He is still “fit and proper”.

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