City UK chief executive Chris Cummings has warned the financial services industry not to push back against additional regulation to avoid further damaging the sector’s reputation with consumers.
Speaking at a fringe event at the Labour party conference in Liverpool this week, the former Aifa director general said the industry must be careful when lobbying for changes in regulation to avoid being seen as anti-regulation. He said the industry must instead work towards good regulation which benefits firms and consumers.
Cummings said: “Too often, financial services is portrayed as the bride dragged to the altar and that is something we have to take a long hard look at ourselves over. We have lost our reputation and part of the solution to that from the public’s perspective is more regulation, so if financial services is seen to be anti-regulation, then our period in the wilderness will just continue for much longer.”
Cummings admits that the pursuit of greater profit and a failure to engage with people on a local level led to the industry “drifting away” from customers.
He said: “There was a sense that centralisation was the way to achieve greater profit. We reverted to conversations along the lines of ’we pay £53bn in tax, we create a million jobs and so surely that makes us a great national asset’. What the public wanted to hear about was how many jobs we were creating locally. As a sector, we drifted away from our public.”