New banking watchdog would focus on training

Sir Richard was asked last September by the chairmen of Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Standard Chartered and Nationwide to come up with proposals for a new organisation to raise standards in banking and improve outcomes for consumers.

In a 27-page consultation paper published last week, the former director-general of the CBI revealed his plans for a new body to act as an independent champion for better banking standards in the UK.

Participating banks and building societies would commit to a programme of improved banking standards, covering conduct and competence, and would agree to report publicly on their progress every year.

Article continues after advert

The proposed first task of the new rival to the British Bankers’ Association would be to define standards of good conduct and competence that are required in specific roles in banking.

On the basis of these standards, Sir Richard said the new body would assess and validate the training programmes delivered by external providers and the banks themselves.

Each institution would be required to report back on its progress on an annual basis.

The deadline for comments on the proposals is 7 March.

Chris Cummings, chief executive of industry body TheCityUK, said making sure standards of behaviour improved across the financial and related professional services industry was a priority for all its participants.

Adviser view

Adrian Lowcock, senior investment manager at Bristol-based Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “I am all for improving confidence in financial services. Improved training and monitoring should go some way to achieving this. However, the greatest steps will be made in changing the culture of banks and financial institutions to ensure customers’ interests are at the forefront of products and services developed.”