Wells Fargo is one example in a long line of cross-industry organisations where culture is mooted as the root cause of scandals, crises and liquidations. The financial services industry, in particular, has demonstrated instances of rate-rigging, rogue trading and mis-selling in the last 10 years since the global financial crisis. Despite record fines, increasing investigations and an expanding compliance industry, misconduct remains. Why? What have we not learned?
Culture change is complex and difficult. Take drink driving. The number of drink drive casualties in Great Britain has reduced by 73 percent since 1979. Public attitudes have shifted dramatically. But drink drive deaths still account for around 11 percent of all road deaths. Despite some of the most severe drink drive penalties in Europe, we are not there yet. In the financial services market, the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SM&CR) is a start, providing a minimum standard for firms to adopt and holding leaders to account for their actions. But there is still a way to go. Beyond rules and standards, what more can be done to improve culture? What does ‘good’ look like?
What are the underlying forces driving culture and how they can be leveraged to benefit firms, consumers and markets? Finally, what does culture change look like on the ground and who should lead it?
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