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BSB starts its work and announces line- up of new Board

The Banking Standards Board today (Thursday) announced the line-up of its new Board.

Unveiling the high-profile line-up, Dame Colette Bowe, Chairman of the Board, made clear that its overarching aims would be to raise banking standards, to begin to rebuild public trust and help sustain and strengthen the UK’s position as one of the world’s great financial centres.

Commenting on the make-up of the Board, Dame Colette said:

“A healthy society and a vibrant economy like the UK needs well-run banks and building societies that understand and serve the needs of people and businesses. From paying household bills to growth finance for business, millions of us rely on the banking system every day. And some 500,000 people across the UK work in this industry.

“But trust in the system has been badly damaged and it’s no surprise that the public expects change after everything that has happened.

“Banks recognise the urgent need to raise their game and build the necessary momentum for change. It won’t happen overnight and it will be an uncomfortable journey but the time has come to win back trust.

“The new Banking Standards Board is made up of expert and committed people, a cross section of civil society and professional expertise, all determined to shine a spotlight on competence, culture and patterns of behaviour across the whole banking industry.

“Through concerted, collective action, the Board will support and encourage sustained change for banks operating in all areas of the market – retail, investment and commercial. That change will be equally relevant to incumbents and challengers, to banks and building societies. “

The Banking Standards Board will take forward the work of the Banking Standards Review which was conducted by Sir Richard Lambert during 2014 in the wake of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.

It is an independently-led organisation, financed by the banking industry, charged with helping to raise standards across the industry, by identifying shortcomings, recognising progress and signposting the need for further improvement. It will report publicly on its findings.

The Board has 14 members in total, made up of 9 non-practitioners, including its Chief Executive, and 5 practitioners from across the whole UK banking sector.

Non-Practitioner Members

Dame Colette Bowe, Chairman
Lord (John) McFall, Deputy Chairman
Sir Brendan Barber, Chair, ACAS
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice
Paul Johnson, Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies
Baroness Onora O’Neill, Chair, Equalities and Human Rights Commission Lady (Susan) Rice, Chair, Chartered Banker: Professional Standards Board The Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham

Alison Cottrell, CEO designate, Banking Standards Board

Practitioner Members

James Bardrick, Chief Country Officer for the UK, Citi Craig Donaldson, CEO, Metro Bank
Alison Robb, Group Director, Nationwide
Antonio Simoes, CEO UK, HSBC Bank

Clare Woodman, Chief Operating Officer, Morgan Stanley International

Welcoming the formation of the new Board, Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, said:

“I welcome the progress that has been made in this important initiative. The independent members of the Banking Standards Board will bring a wide range of expertise and working with industry practitioners they can be expected to make significant progress on establishing high standards and restoring trust in the banking sector”

Mike Corbat, Chief Executive Officer, Citi, said:

“Citi has welcomed the Banking Standards Board from its inception. We will continue to support its important and independent role in helping to rebuild trust and confidence in our industry by promoting higher standards for culture, behaviour and competence. We are delighted that James Bardrick, Citi’s Chief Country Officer for the UK, has been appointed as a non-executive member of the Board.”

Colm Kelleher, President, Institutional Securities and CEO, Morgan Stanley International, said:

“Morgan Stanley is pleased to support the launch of the Banking Standards Board. Rebuilding trust is a significant challenge for the whole industry and the Banking Standards Board has a key role to play in coordinating and overseeing that effort. We are also pleased that Clare Woodman, Morgan Stanley’s International Chief Operating Officer, will serve as a non-executive member of the Board.”

Senior Managers and Certification Regime

Exploring how the SMCR - and especially Certification - can be implemented in the most effective way across the sector.

The Senior Managers and Certification Regime is a major regulatory change that will affect all banks and building societies. Responding to recommendations by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, the government and regulators have together developed a comprehensive framework to ensure better accountability and responsibility for behaviour, competence and culture in banks and building societies. The new framework provides an opportunity for the industry to focus on and demonstrate a culture of professionalism. We are working with firms and regulators to facilitate this, including areas where a common approach across firms could support both the objectives of the regime and the skills and development of the people covered by it.

Professionalism

Evaluating whether a more 'professional' approach to banking would improve behaviour and competence across the industry.

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards found that 'banking culture has all too often been characterised by an absence of any sense of collective responsibility to uphold the reputation of the industry', and argued that a greater focus on professionalism could be an answer to this. Working with a leading team at the University of Leeds, we are researching the issues around professionalism in banking. In particular, we are reviewing how professional qualifications are currently used across the sector, and at whether a stronger role for professional bodies, along the lines seen in some other sectors, like medicine or law, would help raise standards. To inform this work and develop a rounded picture of 'professionalism' and what it means in banking, we are surveying banks and building societies, professional bodies and a wide range of other interested groups, including consumer bodies and investors.

Assessments

Providing an honest and impartial assessment to Boards of progress against objectives on behaviour, competence and culture.

The BSB assessment exercise presents Boards with an objective and impartial view of their firm's culture, identifying where things are working well and recommending areas for improvement. It draws on information not only from Boards and senior teams, but also from employees, investors (or members), trade unions, customer groups and other relevant bodies. In doing so, it will provide constructive challenge to each firm individually, while building a collective understanding of common issues across the industry, or sectors within it. We undertook our first annual assessment exercise in 2015 with ten firms (Barclays, Citi, HSBC Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Metro Bank, Morgan Stanley International, Nationwide, RBS, Santander UK and Standard Chartered). The BSB itself will not publish individual assessment reports - each firm owns its own report - but key themes and messages will be set out in the BSB's annual report, the first of which will be published in Spring 2016. Given that Board engagement is central to the assessment work, only firms that have their headquarters in the UK are eligible for the full assessment exercise. All firms, including branches of firms headquartered overseas, will however be included in a focused membership-wide survey, which will allow each participating firm to benchmark itself against its peer group.

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