The financial services industry must “walk the walk as well as talk the talk” in order to regain trust from consumers, according to the FCA.
Speaking at a National Economic Research Associates enforcement seminar last night, FCA director of enforcement and financial crime Tracey McDermott said those working within financial services are not predisposed to bad behaviour.
But she argued that where firms place profits over ethics, “misconduct will flourish”.
She said: “Even after all these years since the start of the crisis, the reaction of certain individuals is to say, ’not my job guv – we aren’t regulators’. As long as that attitude prevails on the trading floors and elsewhere at the frontline, as long as the industry believes the problems are created by the regulator or are there to be fixed by the regulator, then nothing will change.”
McDermott said the general public’s view is that misselling scandals are so common they are almost boring. Views such as that banks “behave like brutal muggers” to “victim customers” and have to be “frogmarched” into paying redress are “by no means unusual, but they are incredibly unhealthy”, she said.
She added: “It is addressing this sentiment – society’s lack of trust in the industry – that represents the greatest challenge – both to the industry and its regulator.
“Unless we see an extended period of firms walking the walk as well as talking the talk, trust will not be regained, and we will all – industry, regulators and most importantly consumers – be worse off as a result. That is the challenge ahead of us, and one the FCA is committed to meeting.”