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may, 2017

23may10:00 am1:00 pmProfessionalism Forum10:00 am - 1:00 pm


Event Details

Sir Brendan Barber, Chairman, Professionalism Forum:


Last week (23 May) saw the BSB’s first Professionalism Forum held at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. The session was very well attended by a diverse and varied mix representing banks, building societies, trade unions, professional bodies, regulators, qualification providers, academics and other interested stakeholders. (See below for the full list of firms and organisations that attended the first Forum.)

I was keen that this first Forum establish a collaborative environment where participants could share views and experiences, and discuss and debate issues openly, and it was pleasing to see and hear all engaged in lively debate and willing to share opinions throughout the morning, so my thanks go to all who attended and made the session engaging and worthwhile.

The Forum had two aims: the first was to discuss the definition of professionalism in the banking sector, its purpose and why strengthening professionalism is important – not to supersede or override existing definitions, but to establish a common starting point from which the BSB’s thinking in this area can develop through the work of the Professionalism Working Group and the wider Forum.

The second was to consider both ‘enablers’ and ‘barriers’ to strengthening professionalism in banking. Identification of these issues will help to inform and structure our work and discussions in the context of the Professionalism Forum over the coming year.

I came away from this first Forum impressed by the engagement and commitment of such a wide range of organisations and individuals to raising professionalism in banking – and indeed, more widely across financial services and elsewhere.

The second Forum is scheduled for 13 September 2017. If you have any questions about the BSB’s work on Professionalism in the meantime, or any thoughts or ideas to share, please get in touch at


Attendee firms/organisations

Advance Union
Aegis Union
Alliance for Finance
Atom Bank
Buckinghamshire Building Society
Building Societies Association
Chartered Banker Professional Standards Board
Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment
Chartered Institute of Credit Management
Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors
Chartered Institute of Personnel Development
Chartered Institute of Taxation
C. Hoare & Co.
City HR
City of London Corporation
Clydesdale & Yorkshire Banking Group
General Medical Council
Global Association of Risk Professionals
Institute of Banking for Ireland
Institute of Business Ethics
Institute of Chartered Accountants for Scotland
Institute of Leadership and Management
Institute of Risk Management
International Compliance Association (ICA)
Ipswich Building Society
Law Society of England and Wales
Lloyds Banking Group
National Skills Academy for Financial Services
Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Group Staff Union
Professional Risk Managers International Association
Retail Banking Academy
Standard Chartered
The Association of Corporate Treasurers
The Cooperative Bank
The London Institute of Banking & Finance
Unity Trust Bank
University of Leeds IDEA CETL


(Tuesday) 10:00 am - 1:00 pm



66, Portland Place

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.


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.


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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If you are seeking the services of an independent financial adviser, Unbiased may be able to help, or if you are looking for more general financial guidance, the Money Advice Service may be a useful place to start.