The Chartered Body Alliance (the Alliance) welcomes the publication of the Banking Standards Board’s (BSB) first good practice guidance for banks and building societies, assessing the fitness and propriety of staff subject to the Certification Regime.
The purpose of the BSB is the development, promotion and encouragement of professional standards for banks, with a focus on institutions. Members of the Alliance focus on developing and promoting professional standards for individuals. Both are equally important in enhancing and sustaining professionalism and improving public confidence and trust in financial services.
The Chartered Body Alliance is well positioned to support the BSB and its members in the future development of good practice. It maintains that a key role for professional bodies is to act as a crucial source for external audit and verification of individuals, which we believe the Certification Regime requires.
Recognising this, the Chartered Banker Institute and the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment jointly launched our Certificates of Professionalism last September. The Certificates of Professionalism are awarded to individuals who meet our required standards and they also provide a third-party verification service. This allows firms to demonstrate annually to the PRA/FCA that their staff have maintained their professional expertise and competence, whilst upholding standards of professional ethics.
This initiative also demonstrates to the public that the banking and financial services sector is committed to enhancing and sustaining these standards.
The BSB’s guidance asks the sector to work together in creating a consistent approach, so that each firm can recognise and have confidence in another’s assessment. We would encourage the BSB to consider further good practice guidance through the notification to professional bodies of the withdrawal of certification and/or disciplinary action by the employer. The Alliance believes this will enhance the credibility of the sector and those who work within it, by making it easier to investigate and sanction members who have failed to live up to the standards expected. The creation of a single register of certified individuals would also significantly contribute to regaining public trust and confidence in the banking sector.
Members of the Alliance share the BSB’s view that the new regime has presented an opportunity to help to promote professionalism across the banking sector. The Alliance believes that in order to achieve this aim individuals employed by banks should be members of an appropriate professional body (particularly those at more senior levels), comply with their Code of Conduct and complete relevant, audited Continuing Professional Development (CPD) annually. The Alliance also strongly believes that professional bodies working alongside employers provide the best framework for the delivery and audited assessment of CPD.