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Blog series – Charles Bowman

In advance of our event at the Bank of England on 21 March 2017, we asked interested parties to write on the theme: Worthy of trust? Law, ethics and culture in banking…

The global financial crisis and the events that followed shook people’s trust in organisations – and in light of this last summer’s Brexit vote, it is clear that trust is more important than ever. There is much to be done to restore trust – creating better businesses that are trusted by society.

The recently published 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer reports the largest ever decline in trust across the institutions of government, media, NGOs and business. The report concludes that:

‘Business finds itself on the brink of distrust,….and, perhaps most concerning for business is the perceived role the public sees business playing in stoking their fears.’

And, so why is trust so important?

Because we live in a world of increased connectivity and public scrutiny and in this new world, trust is the glue and the lifeblood of any organisation…the critical asset in ensuring any institution’s long term survival and success.

And, why is trust so important to the City of London specifically?

Because if London is to remain pre-eminent as the global financial services and banking hub, (1) we must demonstrate, internationally, that London continues to be the trusted cluster of choice and (2) at a national level, we have a responsibility to better communicate our story and our value to the society that we are here to serve.

There is no single silver bullet, trust can neither be demanded nor built, it must be earned – and that takes time. As the old Dutch proverb says, trust arrives walking and leaves on a galloping horse.

The re-earning of trust in Banking and financial services will therefore take time. But it must be done and it is this agenda that I intend to focus on over the next year.

Charles Bowman, Partner, PwC