The Ombudsman received a complaint about the decision of the European Banking Authority (EBA) to allow its Executive Director to take up a position as CEO of an association representing banks, the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME).

The Ombudsman conducted an inquiry, inspected the relevant EBA documents and found maladministration, first, in that the EBA should have forbidden the job move. While the EBA adopted extensive restrictions, these are not sufficient when measured against the risks involved. The Ombudsman considers that if this move does not justify the application of the option, set out in the Staff Regulations, to forbid a staff member accepting a job offer, no move would.

Second, there was maladministration in that the EBA did not, once notified of the planned move, immediately withdraw its Executive Director’s access to confidential information.
The Ombudsman issues three recommendations to the EBA, which should (i) where necessary in future, invoke the option of forbidding its senior staff from taking up certain positions after their term-of-office. Any such prohibition should be time-limited, for example, for two years; (ii) set out criteria for when it will forbid such moves in future so as to give clarity to senior staff. Applicants for senior EBA posts should be informed of the criteria when they apply; and (iii) put in place internal procedures so that once it is known that a member of its staff is moving to another job, their access to confidential information is cut off with immediate effect.

The EBA should reply to these recommendations within three months.

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