Banking Standards Board chair Dame Colette Bowe signals a tougher stance on UK banks

 
Billy Bambrough
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"We are not trying to tell people what the 'right' answer is" (Source: Getty)

The Banking Standards Board (BSB), a City body tasked with restoring faith in the UK banking sector, gave its first indication that it will push for more banking regulation ahead of a major report due next year.


BSB chairwoman Dame Colette Bowe, who took up the role in April, said in a speech at the Cass Business School last night: “We are also working to evaluate and set standards for conduct in specific areas of banking practice. These will complement the work of the regulators, but are intended to go beyond regulatory minima to provide guidance on high standards of conduct.”

The BSB was created to improve the behaviour of bankers in the scandal-hit industry following the financial crisis. The industry was further set back by the rate rigging and HSBC Swiss tax scandals.

There have been questions raised as to how it will work alongside the banking industry’s existing regulators.

Bowe said: “We are not trying to tell people what the “right” answer is. This is a matter for [individual bank] boards.”


Industry authority and chairman of the Financial Services Club Chris Skinner told City A.M.: “The banking standards Board could play an important role in the industry if it truly creates more professional qualifications, trained people with high ethics and better governance than we have seen."

The real question is how this works alongside the FCA, PRA, the Chartered Banker Institute, the British Bankers Association, and other key trade bodies.

The BSB features some big names from within and outside the world of banking, and Bowe last night said the board will be looking to draw on other industries. The chief executive of the BSB is Alison Cottrell, previously a director of financial services at HM Treasury and a former economist with HSBC. The deputy chairman of the board is Lord McFall who previously served as chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee.

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