The new Lord Mayor of the City of London today launched a push for firms in the Square Mile to up their game in winning back the trust of the public.
Charles Bowman, who was sworn in as the 690th Lord Mayor on Saturday, has vowed to make restoring public faith in the City a top priority, after pursuing a similar agenda at accountants PwC.
In a speech today Bowman said he will form a ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ network of the next generation of City leaders in an effort to help instill values of civic duty in firms.
Bowman called for “positive action across the sector” to help restore trust in the City.
He said: “Public trust in business, and financial and professional services in particular, remains low – compounded by well-publicised examples of poor behaviour.
Pointing to the country’s reliance on financial services for pension funds, mortgages, bank accounts, Bowman said: “The tragedy of this pandemic of distrust is that we all rely on the services that the City provides. We all have a stake in its success and its trustworthiness.”
Speaking after Bowman, Lord Henley, a minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said a strong corporate ethical culture can be a “key competitive advantage” for the UK.
Henley said: “As we leave the EU the eyes of the world are on us. We will need to build on our strong heritage as a dependable, confident nation of business; the best place to do business and the place where business is done the best.”
The government has been criticised by political opponents for failing to live up to the rhetoric used by Theresa May on her ascension to the post of Prime Minister, in which she promised a crackdown on corporate misconduct.
Lord Henley pointed to a new law requiring listed companies to publish the pay ratio between their chief executive and the average UK worker as an example of work the government has done to improve corporate governance.
Meanwhile the government has also pushed for a new public register naming listed firms who experience shareholder revolts. The Investment Association is expected to publish the first register by the end of the year.