Raising professional standards in financial services
To raise the level of professionalism in the financial services industry, several key building blocks are required. One of these is a set of professional standards.
Professional standards provide practitioners in the industry with guidance on the behavioural expectations that they and their peers will be held accountable to.
When combined with other key building blocks such as education, experience and accountability, an industry can begin realising the benefits that professionalism delivers.
Professional Standards Project
FINSIA are facilitating a project that will enable professional standards to be developed for the Retail and Business Banking sectors of the finance industry.
These professional standards will fill a gap as they will be the only standards written specifically for the individual practitioner working in this sector of the industry.
This is the first of a series of individual professional standards that FINSIA will be developing for the industry with other sectors to follow.
We want to hear from you
It is important that the professional standards reflect the views of the practitioners that they will apply to.
For this reason, we are currently seeking feedback on the draft professional standards from FINSIA members. We are especially interested in hearing from members who work in the Retail and Business Banking sectors.
This is a great opportunity to be part of this change and the change starts with you.
Professional Standards Project - FINSIA are facilitating a project that will enable professional standards to be developed for the Retail and Business Banking sectors of the banking and finance industry.
Professionalism provides an industry with many benefits. Among these include a decreased need for legislation and regulators to carry the compliance burden, a sense of pride and community among the professionals in the industry, improved customer outcomes and enhanced reputation. Over time the trust these outcomes can build provides enormous economic and social benefits.
But for professionalism to exist there are several building blocks that need to be in place. One of these is a set of professional standards that individuals in the industry can commit to. Although codes and standards do exist in the industry, they typically have been written at the industry of institutional level. FINSIA are facilitating the development of professional standards that have been written specifically for the individual and complement existing industry or institutional codes.
The first version of these draft standards was produced by synthesising the content of 22 existing codes, standards, oaths or other similar documents that exist in the industry. The objective of this exercise was to ensure the draft standards captured the enormous amount of work that has already been undertaken in this area.
Following this, the Retail and Business Banking Industry Council (RBBIC), a committee of industry practitioners formed by FINSIA, reviewed the standards and approved an updated version that incorporated their feedback. FINSIA is now embarking on a large stakeholder engagement exercise to elicit further feedback. We are particularly interested in gathering feedback from the individuals to whom the standards will apply.
A survey eliciting feedback on the draft standards is currently open to FINSIA members. This will close in early May 2021, the same time at which a series of one-on-one stakeholder consultations will be completed. At this point we will review and update the draft standards and ask the Retail and Business Banking Industry Council (RBBIC) to approve the changes. FINSIA will then seek feedback from the broader industry and other interested stakeholders for a further two months before asking the RBBIC and an approving body to approve the final standards in October 2021.
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Who are these standards for?
These professional standards are written for individuals in the Retail and Business Banking sector of the banking and finance industry. These individuals might be working in operations (e.g. settlements, documentation, etc.), technology functions, sales and distribution roles, product development, or support functions (e.g. risk, finance, or human resources). They provide an opportunity for the individual to make a commitment to a set of standards that they will strive to uphold in their day-to-day work as a banking professional.
These standards will be the first of a series of individual professional standards FINSIA will facilitate the development of. While it will be the case that some features of these professional standards will be common to other parts of financial services industry, there will be nuances and differences that will need to be considered and incorporated. Therefore, although Retail and Business Banking is FINSIA’s initial area of focus, a similar process will be employed to develop professional standards for other sectors of the industry.
What is the scope of the standards?
These standards will not be enforceable by law. Rather, they provide individuals working in Retail and Business Banking with a set of standards that outline what is expected of them as professionals. By agreeing to these standards, professionals are making a personal commitment to abide by the requirements within them. They are by design sufficiently broad so that they can be applied to the majority of activities individuals working in Retail and Business Banking engage in as part of their roles.