The US Department of Justice (DoJ) is looking into whether Barclays breached antitrust laws by promising to stop poaching JPMorgan Chase bankers, the Financial Times has reported. The news marks another blow for the lender, whose chief executive Jes Staley is currently under investigation in the UK over his attempts to uncover a whistleblower.
Barclays’ share price has been little changed in today’s session, having inched 0.05 percent lower to 203.05p as of 14:36 BST, underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.45 percent higher at 7,452.89 points. The group’s shares have added more than 28 percent to their value over the past year, but have given up just under 10 percent in the year-to-date.
The FT reported that the DoJ had asked Barclays for more information on discussions between its top brass and senior JPMorgan executives following a string of high-level departures from the US bank to its peer on the other side of the Atlantic. The appointments came after Jes Staley, also a former JPMorgan executive, took the help at the FTSE 100 lender. Sources with knowledge of the matter told the newspaper that the DoJ was looking into whether Barclays had entered into a ‘no poach’ agreement by promising not to hire more JPMorgan bankers. Such agreements are illegal under US antitrust laws.
The FT reported that JPMorgan had said that there had been ‘no improper agreements,’ while Barclays insiders had vigorously rejected any suggestions for a ‘no poach’ agreement.
The news comes at a sensitive time for Staley, who is currently being investigated over his attempts to uncover a whistleblower. He is further in a dispute with private equity firm KKR, a client of Barclays, over his brother-in-law, in relation to a failed Brazilian deal.