Barclays have had the evidence for years that they were trying to rig LIBOR. But it took two years until someone in Barclays Treasury eventually raised a red flag.
Every phone call, every IM, every e-mail at Barclays was recorded for “compliance” purposes. So who the hell was looking at all of this and why did it take them so long to find out?
Barclays may have 140,000 staff, some of them working in compliance functions. But it’s pretty obvious that the procedures aren’t there to trap widescale market manipulation.
Barclays does use technology to help in certain areas. It uses a structured database (partially provided by IBM) to try to match names and addresses to sanctions lists.
But what this scandal shows is that from a compliance point of view knowing what you are looking for is not enough. It is Donald Rumsfeld’s “Unknown Unknowns” that bite you.