From 2015 onwards, find out find out about the origins of the FSCB
In July 2012, and in the wake of the 2008/2009 financial crisis, the House of Commons and the House of Lords set up a Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards to report on professional standards and culture in the UK banking sector. The Commission reported in June 2013 and recommended the creation of a ‘professional body for banking in the UK’ with ‘the onus on the industry itself to maintain the impetus for its development’.
In November 2013 the chairs of the UK seven largest banks and building societies asked Sir Richard Lambert to undertake a consultation on developing such a body. Sir Richard published his review in May 2014, saying that ‘there is a strong case for a collective effort to raise standards of behaviour and competence in the banking sector, and that the best way to deliver this is by setting up a new and independent body to drive the process forward’.
In July 2014 the seven banks and building societies agreed to establish the BSRC and in October of the same year an appointment panel chaired by then Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney appointed Dame Colette Bowe as its first Chairman. Dame Colette appointed Alison Cottrell as CEO and put together a Board made up of practitioner and non-practitioner members with the latter in the majority a principle that remains central to our governance and independence today).
The newly named BSB was established in April 2015 as a private sector body, funded by membership subscriptions. Our remit was to help raise standards of behaviour and competence across the banking sector – to provide challenge, support and scrutiny to member firms committed to rebuilding the trustworthiness of the sector. With no statutory powers and no representative role, we occupy a different space to regulators and to trade bodies and lobbyists. Membership is voluntary, and we do not speak for or lobby for our members.
One of our first challenges was to develop an Assessment Framework that would allow us and member firms to gauge progress in managing culture, both over time and relative to each other. We worked with academics and other experts to create our Employee Survey, and ran it for the first time in 2016 – the year in which we opened for membership. Visit our What we do pages to find out more about our Assessment work.
Since then we our membership has steadily expanded (our current members can be found on our Membership pages, and more than 73,000 UK bank and building society employees responded to our Employee Survey in 2020. In 2018 we created our Insights team to help us analyse the growing set of data from the Survey as effectively as possible and enable firms to act on the information it provided, including through designing and running behavioural interventions.
Our work with member firms also encompasses a range of events, member forums and working groups. See Our latest for more on our events programme. Output from past working groups includes our Professionalism principles and a suite of guidance on implementation of the Certification Regime.
Given the growing interest in the BSB’s work from firms outside banking, we took the step in April 2021 of extending our membership scope to enable firms from across the UK financial services sector to join as members. While the BSB worked primarily with banks, our work and approach has never been bank-specific; good organisational culture matters to firm in all industries and in both the private and public sectors. This move allows us to work not only individually but also collectively with a wider range of firms, to the benefit we hope of these firms’ customers, clients, employees and other stakeholders.
We continue to work with firms not eligible for membership on a one-to-one basis through our commercial arm. Visit our pages on working outside of membership to find out more about this complementary aspect to our membership work.