Barclays Attacked In Mystery 'Staff Letter'
A letter claiming to represent scores of disgruntled Barclays employees made potentially damaging claims on Wednesday about poor staff morale just hours before the bank's board gathered for its annual meeting.
Addressed to Sir David Walker, Barclays' chairman, the letter made allegations of an unjustified workload for ordinary workers and "arrogant" behaviour by senior colleagues demonstrating a "complete lack of empathy".
The letter claimed to be from an organisation identifying itself as the Barclays 100+ Group, and said it was "written...by a total of 100+ colleagues ... from retail, Barclays Wealth, Barclaycard and Barclays".
It said copies had been sent to the entire Barclays board, shareholders including BlackRock and Capital Group, as well as news organisations such as Sky News.
The authenticity of the letter could not be ascertained on Wednesday and there was no independent verification that it had been sent by a current employee or employees of Barclays.
It nevertheless provides a headache for Antony Jenkins, Barclays' chief executive, ahead of Thursday's annual meeting.
Sky News revealed on Tuesday that the bank was set to receive a mixed verdict from institutional investors, with overwhelming support for future pay plans offset by a sizeable protest vote against last year's decision to hike bonuses despite a slide in profits.
Some leading City figures such as Richard Buxton, a fund manager at Old Mutual Global Investors, have given the Barclays board their backing, saying impending reforms to its investment bank should pave the way for improved financial returns.
In the letter to Sir David, the writer alleged that "key financial reports produced by Barclay's [sic] wealth go unchecked owing to lack of resource. We cannot trust the numbers being produced."
It said that senior managers in Barclays' operations and technology departments were "arrogant ...and think they own the Bank".
The letter also said that being an employee of Barclays had been "excruciating" in recent times.
The bank has been hit by a string of fines and other adverse publicity in the last two years, including for rate-rigging and insurance mis-selling, in common with other big lenders.
Many of the complaints contained in the letter are similar to those frequently levelled at large companies.
Barclays employs approximately 140,000 people, although thousands of those staff are expected to lose their jobs in the next few years, with plans to reshape its investment bank to be announced on May 8.
Barclays declined to comment.