- Barclays is cracking down on employees’ personal device usage on the investment bank’s trading floors, according to an internal memo reviewed by Business Insider.
- While the London-based bank already had such a ban in place, which is not uncommon at other firms, insiders said the rule was not enforced.
- It is unclear what prompted the memo urging employees to abstain from using personal devices on trading floors, saying they "will now be treated as ‘Restricted Areas’" and that employees’ failure to comply with the restrictions may "result in a breach."
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Barclays is cracking down on using cell phones on its trading floors.
An internal memo seen by Business Insider and sent to global staff this week read: "Trading floors will now be treated as ‘Restricted Areas.’ The use of personal devices for any communication is prohibited on all trading floors."
The memo was surprising, two Barclays insiders said, because it had outlined rules that had been more or less in place for years. While rumors of what triggered the reminder swirled around Barclays trading floors, a spokeswoman at the bank declined to comment.
One former Barclays trader and one current employee said the ban was never enforced. Perhaps that will change with the new reminder.
Cell phone bans on trading floors are nothing new, and Europe is subject to strict regulations since 2018 about bank employees "receiving relevant telephone conversations and electronic communications on privately owned equipment."
Business Insider talked to half a dozen traders at other major banks who have all described restrictions more or less in line with Barclays’ policies. At least one big US bank requires traders to use separate phones altogether — one for work and one for personal use — insiders say.
Here is the text of the Barclays memo:
- Trading floors will now be treated as ‘Restricted Areas.’ The use of personal devices for any communication is prohibited on all trading floors.
- If you need to use your personal device for a non-business related matter, this should be done off the trading floor. Unrestricted areas will be formally designated for personal devices in the near future. Areas currently available for use of personal devices include offices, conference rooms, lifts and lobbies.
- You are allowed to have your personal device on your desk, for example to charge them, but it may not be used unless you are in an unrestricted area as described above.
- Supervisors are responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with the above prohibition.
- It is important that all employees are fully aware of their responsibilities with regard to the above restrictions. Failure to comply with them may result in a breach.
The memo comes at a moment of change within the London-based investment bank, as staff shakeups and increasing pressure on delivering on earnings goals take hold.
Barclays is going through a particularly turbulent time in its markets division after the shock departure of investment bank chief Tim Throsby in March. Since then, the bank has lost a clutch of senior execs, most recently Fabio Madar, the head of the currency division who joined the bank less than a year ago.
Business Insider reported also earlier this month that a recently promoted New York-based managing director had also exited.
Barclays is scheduled to report its half-year 2019 earnings results on Thursday, August 1.
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