Nearly a decade after the financial crisis, instances of professional misconduct, ethical lapses, and compliance failures continue to be reported in the press with troubling frequency, many of which have resulted in widespread impacts to customers and the markets, and significant monetary and reputational costs to organisations. This issue is by no means limited to the financial services sector. We have also seen significant misconduct issues across other sectors such as retail, automotive and the utilities industries.
The coverage of conduct failures strikes an uncomfortable contrast with the intensity of effort the industry and the regulators have showed in reforming and remediating the weaknesses that were brought to light.
Overall, this environment has further strained the public’s failing trust in the integrity of the financial services industry and in large corporates as a whole, including the people they employ and the markets they support.
The critical question now is what must happen, or what must the public see, to trust that businesses are working to meet a threshold of care for their customers and the markets?
Organisations can improve culture and regain the public’s trust by rebuilding and enhancing their relationship with customers, regulators and shareholders to balance the sometimes competing needs and interests of all stakeholders.
A robust culture serves to strengthen a business’ reputation, sustain the business and its brand into the future. It can also prove to be a strong defence against material misconduct and heightened scrutiny of regulators.