It is probably a fair comment to say that perhaps the Financial Services industry isn’t one that has been held in the highest regard over the past few years.
However, there seems to be a conscious shift on behalf of banks, large and small, to restore the reputation of the industry. There has been consistent noise around the importance of ‘putting the customer first’ and creating a customer centric focus within the industry; Ross McEwan of RBS commented on the importance of ‘changing their behaviours on every level’ to ensure continued trust from the customer. This drive to restore reputation is substantiated with reports from Reuters of bankers in the Netherlands being required to take an oath to ‘do their utmost to maintain and promote confidence within the Financial Services industry.
This responsibility to repair the reputation of the industry is not left solely to the Banks. A new independent body, headed by Richard Lambert, has also been tasked with the responsibility to repair the reputation of the industry with a proposal to bring in annual reports to highlight improvements and an adherence to an independent code of practice. It would certainly seem that the City of London is taking a firm stance.
Some may argue that this shift in perception may be one that will not take hold for at least a generation, with some current mistrust being too deep-rooted to change at present. However, given the measures put in place across the globe and a seemingly complete buy-in from senior management teams across the industry, there may be hope for the current generation yet. Nonetheless I would be interested to hear your thoughts.