Only 10% of people working in the banking sector are members of a professional body. The Banking Standards Board was keen to understand the role that professional bodies might play in raising standards in the sector.
The research addressed questions about professions and professionalism - ideas which are at the heart of much of the research, teaching and consultancy activities carried out by Dr Baxters interdisciplinary applied ethics team.
They carried out desk-based research and conducted interviews and online surveys with a wide range of banks, building societies, banking and non-banking related professional bodies and other stakeholders.
They found that the potential exists for professional bodies to play a greater role in raising levels of competence and promoting ethical behaviour in the sector. The report also identified a number of cross-sector challenges that need to be addressed including the need to establish banking qualifications as a gold standard, and the relationship between banks and their professional bodies as forming a community of interest rather than being seen as customer and supplier.
The findings of the report were highlighted by Dame Colette Bowe, Chair of the Banking Standards Board:
[The] report makes clear what needs to be done to strengthen professionalism in the sector. It will take collaboration and determination from all sides to tackle these challenges but the new accountability regimes present a unique opportunity for the industry and professional bodies to raise the bar on behaviour and improve outcomes for customers. We urge them to seize it.
The report kick-started a year-long BSB professionalism project. In April 2017 the BSB established a Professionalism Forum and Working Group, chaired by Sir Brendan Barber and bringing together BSB member firms, professional bodies, regulators, trade unions, academics and other experts.
As a member of the BSBs Professionalism Working Group, Jim made a valuable contribution to the development of the BSBs aspirational Professionalism Principles
for firms seeking to strengthen the professionalism of their employees. They were published in May 2018.