Banking on trust: launch of BankingFutures report

Future of finance

Anne Wade & Sophia Tickell

01 February 2016

A group of influential bankers and stakeholders – brought together by Leaders’ Quest and Meteos – has called for leadership to take action in the UK to create a healthy banking sector following the 2008 financial crisis.

BankingFutures brings together senior bankers, investors and sector experts to explore how to rebuild the culture and reputation in finance. The core working group has met and heard from a diverse range of stakeholders, including regulators, customers and civil society.

The resulting report contains three key recommendations:

  1. Banks to better serve the real economy’s current and future needs.
  2. Bank leaders commit to work with the Investor Forum to create banking and investment cultures that enable the sector to deliver long-term value.
  3. Bank leaders commit to a public process involving consumers, civil society and regulators to improve their duty of care and respect for customers.

Andrew Bailey, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England explains the importance of this project:

"The financial crisis was a painful reminder that commercial banks should operate for the good of the public, their customers. Now we must tackle the question of what banking system we do want. BankingFutures is an important initiative involving a wide group of stakeholders. It has a call to leadership, to respect customers and to support our economy. The report is an important start but it must not gather dust. Now we must all make the change happen.”

The report highlights how the size and profile of the UK banking sector, and its importance to the economy, gives rise to tensions that need ongoing and careful management. To do this well means addressing the mistrust that is endemic across the banking system.

Banks still have a tremendous amount to do to regain societal, investor, consumer, and regulatory trust. But it’s not just them. Banking reform is a cultural challenge as well as a regulatory one, requiring thoughtful, principled stakeholders to participate in debates about how to create a healthy financial sector.

“Our starting point is that banks are here to serve. Society needs to tell us how, and then we need to meet those requirements. However, it’s also our responsibility to help society express informed choices. We have a collective challenge that our voice is currently absent from these debates,” comments John Flint, Chief Executive, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC.

“For a long time investors over-emphasised the importance of short-term profit maximisation. We need to hold managers to account so they can drive the right behaviours in their organisations. It’s incumbent on this group to work with managers to set new expectations and help drive down that change,” says Jessica Ground, Global Head of Stewardship, Schroders.

“Trust in the banking industry remains perilously low. Time alone won’t heal that; it requires concerted effort by the industry. We’ve been pleasantly surprised that people were ready to hear from bankers. We now have space to discuss and debate a way forward with the stakeholders that we serve. The leadership challenge in banks is unique and complex; the UK industry needs initiatives like BankingFutures to help unravel that.” Matt Hammerstein, Head of Client and Customer Experience, Personal and Corporate Banking, Barclays.

"Many communities are still failing to benefit from economic growth, while people and businesses are also struggling to access the appropriate and affordable financial products and services they need to participate in the mainstream economy. Constructive dialogue between all those involved in the financial services sector is critical to tackling these issues." Jennifer Tankard, Chief Executive, Responsible Finance

Co-Directors of BankingFutures, Sophie Tickell and Anne Wade, have been delighted – and humbled – by the response.

“We have been overwhelmed by the high level of engagement in the BankingFutures consultation,” says BankingFutures Co-Director, and Meteos Partner, Sophia Tickell. “It gives real legitimacy to the report’s findings.”

“‪Reform that draws on the expertise of progressive, experienced bank executives working in partnership with civil society and government is more likely to create solutions that underpin the UK economy, protect the most vulnerable members of society, and enable us to tackle long-term challenges.” says BankingFutures Co-Director, and Leaders’ Quest Partner, Anne Wade. ‬‬‬‬‬‬