Dame Colette Bowe appointed Chairman of the Banking Standards Review Council

9 Oct 2014 – Dame Colette Bowe has been appointed to the role of Chairman of the Banking Standards Review Council (BSRC), the new body charged with promoting high standards across banks and building societies in the UK.

The appointment follows a process involving an independent selection panel chaired by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, and comprising the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Baroness Onora O’Neill, the philosopher and crossbench member of the House of Lords and Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership.

Sir Richard Lambert, the interim chairman who was asked by the banking industry to set up the new standards organisation, said:

“I am very pleased to be passing the baton to Colette Bowe. She gets things done and I could not imagine anyone better qualified to take on this important and worthwhile job.”

Dame Colette was most recently chairman of Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, and of Electra Private Equity plc. She has experience both working inside the financial industry and as a financial regulator as the first chief executive of the Personal Investment Authority.

One of her first jobs at the BSRC will be to appoint a Chief Executive and to take forward the process of getting formal sign up to the new organisation from banks and building societies.

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said:

“I am delighted that Colette has agreed to become the first chairman of the Banking Standards Review Council. Colette not only has a deep understanding of financial services regulation, but also a proven track record of improving standards of safety, fairness and integrity across a range of industries. I wish her every success in bringing that experience to the UK banking sector.”

Dame Colette said:

“This is a very big challenge but I am confident that we are all ready to give it our best shot. I certainly am and will press on with setting up the BSRC as fast as possible.”

The BSRC was set up with the support of the UK’s six largest banks and biggest building society and will be responsible for setting standards for culture, competence and customer outcomes. Funded by the industry, it will publish an annual report showing the progress banks have made and where they are falling down. It will aim to publish an initial report on the state of banking standards and good practice in the first half of next year.

Dame Colette will take up her role at the BSRC on 1st November.


Notes to Editors

1) Dame Colette Bowe has worked as a City practitioner, a consumer champion and a regulator of both financial services and the media and communications industry. Most recently she was independent Chairman of Ofcom (2009-14), the telecoms regulator, and Chairman of Electra Private Equity plc (2010-14).

Her non-executive roles have included Deputy Chairman of Thames Water (2002-06) and director of AXA Investment Managers Deutschland (2009-14), Axa Investment Managers SA (2011- 2014), London & Continental Railways (2008-11), Morgan Stanley Bank International (2005-10), Goldfish Bank (2007-08) and Yorkshire Building Society (2003-06).

She was the founding Chairman of the Telecoms Ombudsman Service (2002-03) and of the Ofcom Consumer Panel (2003-07).

She was the first Chief Executive of the Personal Investment Authority (1994-97), the former regulator for the life insurance industry and before that Director of Retail Regulation at the Securities and Investments Board (1989-93).

An economist by training, she has degrees in economics from Queen Mary College, London and the London School of Economics. She is currently a Visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, a director of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-executive board member of the Department for Transport and Chairman of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

2) Sir Richard Lambert was asked in September 2013 to carry out a review to come up with proposals for a new organisation to raise standards in banking by the chairman of Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Standard Chartered and Nationwide. The new organisation is open to all banks and building societies in the UK.

2) The Lambert Review was set up following the recommendations made in June 2013 by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (PCBS), chaired by Andrew Tyrie MP. The PCBS recommended that work to establish a professional body should begin, in order to demonstrate that commitment to high standards is expected throughout banking and that individuals were expected to abide by higher standards than those that can be enforced through regulation alone.

3) Sir Richard Lambert joined the Financial Times on graduating from university, and served as editor from 1991 to 2001. He was a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England from 2003 to 2006, and Director General of the CBI from 2006 to 2011. He is Chancellor of the University of Warwick, lead independent executive on the Supervisory Board of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Chairman of the British Museum.