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In a speech to the Conference on Inclusive Capitalism, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, called for the financial sector to relearn the lesson that “financial capitalism is not an end in itself, but a means to promote investment, innovation, growth and prosperity.” Mr Carney said that in the run up to the financial crisis this ideal was lost and bankers became detached from end users, looking only towards money as their reward.
Mark Carney went on to call on bankers to create the foundation for ethical financial institutions with “boards and senior management defining clearly the purpose of their organisations and promoting a culture of ethical business throughout them.” Towards this end the Bank of England is establishing a regime for “regulating the senior-most managers of banks” with a view to reversing the blurring of the link between seniority and accountability. A similar regime is being considered for those within the insurance sector. The Banking Standards review council will also work towards creating a “sense of vocation in banking by promoting high standards of competence and behaviour across the UK industry.”
Even with these supervisory changes, Mark Carney calls for a true commitment from the industry in order to create a meaningful change in the culture of banking. In a speech which is not short on values, beliefs and trust the overwhelming message is clear – banks and the wider financial community have a responsibility towards society as a whole and furthermore “business ultimately needs to be seen as a vocation, an activity with high ethical standards, which in turn conveys certain responsibilities.”