TfL urged to take action over sponsorship rules in wake of Barclays scandal

Barclays are sponsors of London’s Cycle Hire scheme. Photo: MayorWatch

Barclays’ manipulation of key interest rates proves the need for Transport for London to reform its approach to sponsorship deals, the Chair of a London Assembly committee has said.

In February the Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee published a report into TfL’s commercial sponsorship deals and called on the body to set out “how it would manage a situation where a sponsor suffered major reputational damage”.

The ‘Whose brand is it anyway? – An Examination of TfL’s Sponsorship Policy’ report can be downloaded from the Assembly’s website.

Since publication of the report former TfL sponsor Wonga has been reprimanded by the Office of Fair Trading for using “aggressive” and “misleading” debt collection methods and earlier this week Barclays, which sponsors the Mayor’s “flagship” cycle hire scheme, was fined £290m by U.K. and U.S. regulators for trying to rig interest rates in their favour.

The U.K. Financial Services Authority said the bank’s misconduct “was serious, widespread and extended over a number of years.”

Speaking on Friday, committee Chair John Biggs said: “Four months ago this committee warned that TfL seems to take an ad hoc approach to signing up sponsors and highlighted the risks of a major sponsor suffering serious reputational damage.
“This is exactly the position TfL now finds itself in and I urge them to tighten up their sponsorship rules – as we have asked them to do – sooner rather than later.”