New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Honourable Grant Robertson has backed FINSIA’s ‘important’ strategy to professionalise banking.
Mr Robertson - who is also Minister of Finance and was a guest speaker at the launch of our first of its kind professional banking qualifications program - described it as a Goldilocks solution.
In a speech to business leaders giving an overview of the recovery from COVID-19, he highlighted the importance of social capital and “trust we have in institutions”.
“FINSIA's work is actually about the way in which we provide systems that have integrity, systems that have a robustness, but also an ability to be responsive and flexible as well,” he said.
“It's the great Goldilocks solution of how do you get yourself to a point where you've got integrity in the system where everybody is able to see and understand what you’re doing and have confidence.
“But you need to be able to respond to your customers, your clients in the case of banks and financial institutions, or in our case, in terms of both the issues we face and the people of New Zealand.
“So I do think the work that you're doing is important.”
After taking the audience through the budget and New Zealand’s recovery from the pandemic - including how the feared 10% unemployment rate was actually 4.7% and trending downwards, and that New Zealand was the first country to receive a post pandemic Standard and Poor upgrade to AAA status - he talked about the reasons for that success.
“It's really important that we harness the value of New Zealand's social capital,” he said.
“So my view is what got us through COVID in large part was our social capital and that is the connections between us and the trust we have in institutions.
“We need to make sure we take that, and New Zealanders really did absorb that, and use it in an economic context as well.
“Social capital is not the same thing as social license. Social capital is the stocks of what we've got, social licenses, how businesses then use that in their work.
“And I do think it's very important that organisations like FINSIA are part of lifting standards, part of making sure those stocks of social capital within how we go about our businesses are upheld.
“A lot of the time, I think the relationship between government and business is defined by regulation, defined by the regulatory things that happen between it, which are important, but often are an attempt to stop something.
“And I'd like to see our relationship defined a bit more by opportunity, by what it is that we can do together to be able to enhance New Zealanders' well being and to provide support for you to go about your work.
“We'll still be doing regulation, but we need regulation that's clever and smart and appropriate and thorough.
“But I'd like our relationship to be one that's based on how we take the opportunities of the work that organisations like FINSIA do and use that to build a stronger relationship.”
Thanking the Deputy PM for speaking at the event, FINSIA's New Zealand National Council Chair Bernard McCrea said: "It is fantastic to have Grant Robertson support us in coming along to speak to so many FINSIA members and senior business leaders. We certainly support his view that education and training is an ongoing vital componenent across banking and financial services."