'Extremely serious' bullying allegation at Open Banking probed by watchdog

The Open Banking Implementation Entity has agreed to co-operate with the investigation

Open Banking trustee Imran Gulamhuseinwala was accused by a former contract worker of intimidation and bullying
Open Banking trustee Imran Gulamhuseinwala was accused by a former contract worker of intimidation and bullying Credit: Micha Theiner 

The CMA has hired law firm Mishcon de Reya to investigate an allegation of bullying made against the head of the business promoting open banking reforms in the UK.

Imran Gulamhuseinwala, the trustee of the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), was accused by a former contract worker of intimidation and bullying.

Other allegations made by the former contractor include claims of a lack of diversity at OBIE as well as concerns that high salaries and day rates were being paid to senior workers at the business.

The CMA is now investigating the allegations, which a spokesman for the regulator called “extremely serious,” and hired the law firm to review them.

OBIE was set up by the CMA in 2016 to promote open banking reforms among the country’s largest banks in an attempt to encourage them to allow rivals and technology start-ups to access customer information.

More than 2 million customers and small businesses are using services built on open banking technology.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research predicted in 2018 that open banking could eventually contribute more than £1bn a year to the UK’s economy and create 17,000 jobs.

Mr Gulamhuseinwala has become the most visible advocate of open banking reforms since he joined OBIE as its trustee in 2017 following the sudden death of his predecessor, Andrew Pinder, of cancer.

A CMA spokesman said that “although the Open Banking Implementation Entity is separate from the CMA, allegations of this nature are extremely serious and we expect them to be investigated fully and independently.”

“An external law firm is being commissioned as part of this work,” he added.

A OBIE spokesman said the business “strives to have an engaged, diverse and inclusive workforce who are positively focused on delivering this end goal.”

“We recognise that the CMA has a duty of care to thoroughly determine the merits of any concerns raised, as such we are committed to lending our full support and cooperation to the independent investigation,” he added.