Barclays and its chief executive Jes Staley are being investigated by regulators over his attempts last year to unmask a whistleblower.

Jes Staley, the chief executive of Barclays, could lose his annual bonus after an investigation was opened into his conduct when he tried to discover who wrote a whistleblowing letter to the bank.

Members of the Barclays board and a senior executive received the anonymous letters back in 2016, raising concerns about a recently recruited senior employee.

The letters, which were being treated as whistleblows, raised concerns of a personal nature about the senior employee, and Mr Staley’s knowledge of and role in dealing with those issues at a previous employer.

It also raised questions over the appropriateness of the recruitment process followed on this occasion by Barclays.

Mr Staley said:

“I will co-operate fully with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, which are now both examining this matter.

“Our whistleblowing process is one of the most important means by which we protect our culture and values at Barclays and I certainly want to ensure that all colleagues, and others who may utilise it, understand the criticality which I attach to it.”

Mr Staley asked Barclays’ internal investigation team to attempt to identify the authors of the letters, which the chief executive thought were an unfair personal attack on the senior employee.

The investigation started after an employee raised concerns about its whistleblowing procedures. The bank asked a law firm, Simmons & Simmons, to start an investigation, and informed the FCA and the PRA.

Its investigation found that Staley “honestly, but mistakenly, believed that it was permissible to identify the author of the letter”. The author was not identified and no further action was taken.

“I have apologised to the Barclays board, and accepted its conclusion that my personal actions in this matter were errors on my part. I will also accept whatever sanction it deems appropriate.”