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Sir Brendan Barber, Deputy Chairman BSB

BSB Professionalism Forum


The first Professionalism Forum took place on 23 May 2017. Read Sir Brendan’s comments after the first Forum and see the attendee list.

The purpose of the next phase of the BSB’s work on professionalism is to identify how the recognised potential for professional bodies and other qualification providers to play a significant role in raising levels of competence and ethical behaviour in the sector, can be realised; this will also include consideration of the role of professional qualifications. Consistent with its role of helping the sector to raise standards of behaviour and competence, the BSB intends to facilitate and support progress on professionalism, working together with firms, professional bodies, qualification providers and other relevant parties. To help it do this, the BSB will establish in May 2017 a new Professionalism Forum and associated Working Group chaired by Sir Brendan Barber.

Sir Brendan brings a wealth of experience to this role. He has been the Chairman of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service since January 2014 and was a founding non-practitioner member of the BSB board, before being appointed Deputy Chairman of the BSB in March 2016. He previously served as the General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress from 2003 to 2012 and sat on the Court of Directors of the Bank of England from 2003 to 2012.

Commenting on his role, Sir Brendan has said:

‘Fostering professionalism across the banking sector is essential if public trust is to be restored and the many thousands of committed, hard-working staff in the industry are to be recognised. I look forward to working with firms, professional bodies, qualification providers and others to explore how all parties, working together, can play a full role in raising standards of competence and behaviour across the banking sector.’

Proposed membership of the Forum and associated Working Group will include BSB member firms, professional bodies in the banking sector, other training or qualification providers and subject matter experts (as well as, in an observer capacity, the FCA, PRA and FICC Market Standards Board).

In undertaking this work on professionalism in banking the BSB recognises the importance of ensuring that any proposals developed by the Forum are relevant, meaningful and effective for employees, customers and broader society. As such, the BSB also plans to meet with a range of organisations including trade unions, HR professionals, consumer groups and others.

The Forum is intended to have an action-oriented and facilitative approach; supporting work that is already underway or planned, exploring areas where new initiatives or impetus would be helpful, and identifying collectively how progress can most effectively be made. Where appropriate, proposals will be developed and published for broader consultation. Equally, where new initiatives are identified that are consistent with the Forum’s direction of travel but can be taken forward by individual or groups of Forum members, these should not need to wait for the Forum’s overall work to conclude before getting underway.

If you would like to learn more about the BSB’s work on Professionalism or to get involved, please contact