Barclays Vies With Deloitte For Ex-FSA Chief
Barclays has waded into the battle for the services of Hector Sants, the former boss of the City regulator, by entering talks about a role that would involve him leading the bank's interactions with his former employer.
I can reveal that Mr Sants, who left the Financial Services Authority (FSA) earlier this year, is in detailed talks about taking on a role overseeing Barclays' compliance and regulatory functions.
He would sit on Barclays' executive committee, one rung below the bank's boardroom, and report to Antony Jenkins, its chief executive.
News of Mr Sants' discussions with Barclays comes two days after Sky News disclosed that the former FSA boss is also in discussions about a role with Deloitte, the accountancy firm.
If Mr Sants elected to join Barclays, it would be significantly more controversial than if he were to move to Deloitte, given the bank's involvement in the Libor-fixing scandal this year.
Mr Sants stepped down from the FSA in June, the same month in which the regulator fined Barclays £59.5m for manipulating the interbank borrowing rate Libor.
In September, Mr Sants released correspondence with Barclays to Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, in which it emerged that he had raised profound concerns about the culture and governance arrangements at Barclays when Bob Diamond was appointed as the bank's chief executive in 2010.
People close to the situation said that Mr Sants was more likely to join Barclays than Deloitte but that he would not formally make a decision until the new year, when a period of gardening leave expires. It is possible that he could take a job elsewhere.
"There is not a done deal yet," a source said today.
Mr Jenkins is keen to recruit Mr Sants to bolster the status of Barclays' compliance and regulatory oversight functions and make it integral to the way the bank operates, insiders said.
Mr Jenkins is due to present his strategy for Barclays to the City in February on the day of its 2012 results. The new boss of Barclays has stated publicly his desire for it to become the "go-to bank" in terms of the ethical standards with which it conducts its business.
Last week, Mike Walters, the current head of Barclays' compliance unit, said he was not responsible for compliance at the bank, sparking derision from the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, to which he was giving evidence.
Mr Sants' appointment would not be on the main board of Barclays - on which only two executive directors, Mr Jenkins and Chris Lucas, the finance director, sit - but it would still require both regulatory approval and an announcement to the stock exchange.
Barclays' risk function is overseen by Robert Le Blanc, who also sits on the bank's executive committee.
Technically, Mr Sants is free to work wherever he wishes once his gardening leave expires, although a move to Barclays would undoubtedly trigger disapproving noises from some parts of Westminster and the City.
Until he resigned from the FSA in March, Mr Sants was supposed to become a deputy governor of the Bank of England and head the new Prudential Regulatory Authority, which from next year will begin overseeing the UK banking system.
Barclays declined to comment while Mr Sants, a former investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston, could not be reached for comment.