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14 July 2016

Is the Financial Services sector at the point of Cultural Risk?

The City has built its global reputation on a pioneering spirit. This is the bedrock of our economy but there needs to be a balance between continuing to take risks, the creation of wealth and the need to manage risk within the relevant regulation to ensure that good culture and behaviour are promoted and incentivised.

We invited a number of industry specialists to give us their view on whether the sector is reaching a point where we are so bound up by red tape that we can no longer innovate - are we at the point of cultural risk? We framed our debate in deliberately controversial terms and were keen to explore the boundaries and opportunities.

Following debate we produced a white paper report, which includes a more detailed look at the topic and thoughts from our panellists, as well as an analysis of the questions put to the audience in the form the pre-event survey.

Click here to download the white paper report


Our panellists

  • David Wighton - City Editor, Wall Street Journal (Panel Chair)
  • Chris Cooper - Managing Director, Challenge Consulting
  • Aileen Gillan - Chief Risk Officer, Metrobank
  • Peter Montagnon - Associate Director, Institute of Business Ethics
  • Dr Costanza Russo - Senior Lecturer, Institute for Regulation and Ethics at the CCLS, Queen Mary College, University of London
  • William Granger - Partner, Charles Russell Speechlys

The debate, chaired by David Wighton and informed by our pre-event survey, sparked lively conversation from all of our panellists and also some thought provoking questions from our audience. A pre-event survey on the topic got a high response rate and interactive comments.

Some key themes and takeaways from the event and survey:

  • It was generally agreed that culture goes beyond compliance and can be a valuable differentiator for Financial Services firms

  • Good culture needs to address more than the codes, regulations, duties to customers, conduct rules and the administration of justice

  • Values and good culture drivers should come from the top, and then become lived, part of the fundamental assumptions, beliefs and motivations of all in the firm. The tone from the top, the tune from the team

  • It should be a natural part of a sustainable business model for firms to put the client at the heart of the business, adopting a structure that encourages and rewards staff to serve the customer in line with the Firm’s culture is critical

  • A significant proportion of people feel that regulation is stifling innovation and damaging entrepreneurial spirit within the sector

  • Fear has driven some firms to overcomplicate the compliance process which has led to either negative or less than ideal culture. Some firms need to simplify by working out their shared values, attitudes, standards and beliefs and then aligning them across the Firm’s goals, strategies, structure and approaches to its people, customers, investors and the greater community.

For more information, please contact Andrea Gearing, Business Development Manager on +44 (0) 20 7203 5315.