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FCA crime head: Time for industry to ‘walk the walk’

Regulator says industry must back up actions with words to regain consumer trust.

The financial services industry must “walk the walk as well as talk the talk” in order to regain the trust of consumers, according to the FCA.

Speaking at a National Economic Research Associates enforcement seminar last week, FCA director of enforcement and financial crime Tracey McDermott said many parts of the industry are still yet to learn the lessons of the past and carry out real cultural change.

She said: “It is a real concern we continue to see dramatic, and disappointing, failures from an industry that professes to have learned lessons by the experience of the past several years.

“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, then nothing will change.”

McDermott said the public’s view is that misselling scandals are so common they are almost boring, and that banks “behave like brutal muggers” to “victim customers” and have to be “frogmarched” into paying redress.

She added: “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.”

Hudson Green & Associates principal Ian Hudson says: “There needs to be some reflection on how far we have come as an industry over the past few years. A lot of firms have left the industry and a lot of people have changed, so she should not tarnish the industry as a whole.”

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