‘Reckless’ ex-Barclays Wealth director handed a ticking off from financial watchdog

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Andrew Tinney, a former senior director of troubled UK bank Barclays, has been handed a public telling off from the financial regulator for allegedly denying the existence of a report that criticised the bank’s operating culture.

The Upper Tribunal of the Financial Conduct Authority, said that Tinney, who was Chief Operating Officer of Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, was found to have breached his obligation as an approved person to act with integrity.

Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said: 'Senior management must be held to high standards of integrity which is the fundamental cornerstone of good conduct in trusted markets. Tinney failed to act with integrity in one telling instance which is enough to justify this censure.'

However, despite the FCA seeking to have Tinney banned for life from holding any position within financial services and also trying to impose a fine, Tinney is simply being issued with a public censure, commonly known as a public telling off.

Tinney responds

Tinney's advisors contacted Prolific London and issued the following statement: "The FCA went after the wrong person. Mr Tinney was trying to fix Barclays' toxic culture and the cultural and compliance failings of its senior management. Instead he was scapegoated by Barclays' senior management

"Finally, after more than five long years of relentless pursuit by the FCA, Mr Tinney is delighted that the Upper Tribunal has recognised that he did not mislead the FCA nor the New York Fed and no documents were destroyed. The ultimate outcome is that he is free, once again to work for any financial services firm in any role." 

Tinney's statement includes a comment from Harvey Knight, Partner at the law firm Withers, who has acted for Mr. Tinney throughout this FCA investigation, which reads: "This is an unprecedented Upper Tribunal judgment. With the Upper Tribunal having upheld the FCA's own decision not to fine Mr Tinney, the FCA has also now decided not to pursue a prohibition order against Mr Tinney in the wake of that Upper Tribunal judgment.

"Put bluntly, Mr Tinney is free to work again in the financial services industry in any role. This is telling. The FCA has serious questions to answer about why it decided to pursue this case."

Criticism of Barclays culture

In March 2012, Tinney received a document which contained critical findings about the culture within Barclays Wealth’s US branch, Barclays Wealth Americas, the FCA said.

Subsequently, the Chairman of Barclays Bank at the time received an anonymous email alleging that “a Wealth cultural audit report” had been suppressed. Tinney assisted in drafting a response to this allegation, the FCA said. 

‘Reckless’ behaviour

The substantive hearing took place in January 2018 and the Upper Tribunal found that Tinney was reckless in giving the impression that the document did not exist, the FCA said. 

Accordingly, the Upper Tribunal found that Tinney's conduct failed to meet the required standard of integrity.

Not upheld

The FCA also alleged that Tinney made false or misleading statements to his colleagues in a response to the US Federal Reserve Bank of New York in November 2012 about the same document. The Upper Tribunal did not uphold this allegation.

The Upper Tribunal also found that, following these events, Tinney made a misleading statement to his professional regulator (the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) concerning the nature of his conduct. However, the Upper Tribunal also did not uphold the separate allegation that Tinney had misled the FCA.    

Public telling off

Following a separate hearing on sanctions in March 2019, the Upper Tribunal determined that the appropriate sanction was for the FCA to publish a statement of Tinney’s misconduct (a public censure) and did not uphold the FCA’s submission that a breach of the obligation to act with integrity by a senior manager merited a prohibition order in this case. 

Tinney is now listed as working for a Cyprus-based gaming firm called Wargaming.net. His LinkedIn profile lists him simply as ‘Finance’, which some have taken as meaning chief financial officer.

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