Open Banking

UK Open Banking Body Chair Resigns Over Bullying Report

The chair of the body that was set up to deliver open banking in the UK has resigned as an investigation into sexist and racist behavior concluded that the agency allowed “a culture of bullying and intimidation to prevail.”

Imran Gulamhuseinwala tendered his resignation as trustee and chair of the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), as part of a package of remedies meant to address poor culture and governance at the entity, according to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday, October 1. The CMA ordered nine UK banks and building societies to set up the OBIE in 2017, to encourage big banks to share customer information with startups and fintechs, and address a lack of competition in the financial sector.

The scathing report – conducted by Alison White, who has worked on a number of boards and is a non-executive director for the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales – said that the number of people who described the working environment as “toxic” was “overwhelming,” and concluded that there were “too few checks and balances,” as well as failures in the way the body managed complaints.

It concluded that sexist comments were “tolerated” at the entity’s office and that bullying “may have been racially motivated”. It also found workers also “feared they would lose their roles if they raised concerns.”

The review was originally launched in September 2020 after a whistleblower contacted the CMA with a number of allegations aimed at the entity’s senior staff. Nearly 50 people were interviewed as part of the investigation, conducted by law firm Mishcon de Reya, with more than half of the interviewees raising serious concerns about the way the OBIE was run.

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.