Standard Chartered Defends "Inclusive" Work Culture

Tom Burroughes Group Editor 11 July 2018

Standard Chartered Defends

A senior figure at the bank has defended its work culture in the wake of recent misconduct cases.

The Europe chief of Standard Chartered argues the UK-listed lender has a “strong” and “inclusive” work environment, responding to a number of resignations amid claims of senior staff misbehaviour.

Tracy Clarke, regional chief executive for Europe & Americas and head of its private bank, defended the bank’s culture in an interview with the Press Association. 

“I’ve been here a long time, as you know, and we have not got a toxic environment, and actually I think the culture at Standard Chartered remains one of our great strengths – I really do,” she said. Clarke has worked at the bank, which operates mainly in regions such as Asia, for 32 years. 

With conduct towards employees increasingly under focus in a number of sectors, cases of misbehaviour, such as involving alleged harassment or inappropriate actions, are drawing sharper attention. Among other misconduct issues at private banks, Harry Keogh, the Coutts banker who had been punished for sexual harassment claims, resigned from the UK firm earlier, this year, for example. 

There have been a number of Standard Chartered departures. The London-based global head of compliance, Neil Barry, was initially placed on leave in March after employees complained about his behaviour. The bank held an internal investigation, finding that his “managerial style, behaviour and language towards some of his colleagues was inappropriate”. Barry eventually agreed to leave. 

In a separate incident, the bank’s head of anti-bribery and corruption, Matt Chapman, left the bank last year after reportedly facing allegations that he changed the performance review of a colleague he was having an affair with, and promoted her before stepping down. Chapman has since been hired by Aviva to work in its financial crime compliance department.

The PA report quoted Clarke as saying that Standard Chartered has ramped up its “Speak Up” channel, which gives employees an opportunity to confidentially report any misbehaviour and was the basis for the investigation into Barry’s actions.

(Editor’s note: While it would not be proper to discuss specific individual cases, there’s little doubt that for a variety of reasons, banks and other financial institutions are becoming tougher where there are misconduct claims, and more willing to discuss actions. It’s important of course that such matters are thoroughly investigated, and just as vitally that those accused of wrongdoing are able to fully defend themselves in accordance with due process. At a time when there is much talk about efforts to encourage more diversity in the workplace, this sharper focus on such matters will continue.)


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