The chairman of
He warned of "growing fatigue" in some of the bank's operations, where staff were having to work at weekends to implement systems changes. One concern was that "there are only 52 weekends in a year".
He made his remarks as the bank, which makes two-thirds of its profits in
Flint outlined a list of regulatory changes that the bank was facing, including implementing a ringfence between its retail banking and "casino" investment arms - demanded by
"I do not think we have ever had to ask so much of so many," said Flint. "The demands now being placed on the human capital of the firm and on our operational and systems capabilities are unprecedented."
The bank employs 256,000 people around the world, down from the 300,000 employed three years ago when
Two years ago the bank was fined pounds 1.2bn by the US for breaching US sanctions and allowing Mexican drug lords to launder money through the financial system. Last week it faced criticism for closing the accounts of three Muslim organisations, including the
Flint said the increased focus on conduct and financial crisis was the right response to problems in the past. "There is, however, an observable and growing danger of disproportionate risk aversion creeping into decision-making in our businesses as individuals, facing uncertainty as to what may be criticised with hindsight and perceiving a zero-tolerance of error, seek to protect themselves and the firm from future censure."
He called for clarity from watchdogs over their expectations. "Unwarranted risk aversion threatens to restrict access to the formal financial system to many who could benefit from it. . . and risks unwinding parts of the ecosystem of networks and relationships that support global trade and investment," he said.
The bank took a
"It is equally important that in implementing them the regulators exercise judgment to minimise the regulatory burden."
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