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First female CEO of a UK bank to make keynote speech on professionalisation at FINSIA's first summit in three years

by Lewis Panther | 19 Jul 2018
FINSIA will hold a professionalisation Summit for the first time in three years as the industry faces unprecedented change - 12 days after the Royal Commission’s interim report. Dame Susan Rice
 
Leaders from the world of banking and finance have agreed to speak at the prestigious event on October 11 where they will discuss future challenges and prospects for the industry.
 
Commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s early thoughts and recommendations are bound to be a major topic of discussion, making it a crucial networking event.
 
FINSIA has already partnered with influential figures from the banking and financial services sector from home and abroad to share a wealth of experience at the spring summit.
 
A keynote speech from Dame Susan Rice - the first female CEO of a major British bank and former director of the Bank of England - will bring a unique insight into raising professional standards.
 
The American-born, Scotland-based banker’s credentials make fascinating reading themselves. 
 
She started out working as a medical researcher at Yale after studying at the exclusive Ivy League Wellesley College alongside a young Hilary Clinton, before taking up a role as an academic administrator.
 
Switching to finance in the 1980s, she worked on funding community housing projects in the Bronx where she visited rat-infested apartments as part of the job. 
 
It’s that background, bringing an outsider’s perspective to the industry, which she says has been crucial to her own development.
 
“I came into banking having not grown up in the industry - and that has served me well because it allows me to ask questions and delve to understand” she says. 
 
“I tend to come in from left field. I ask a lot of questions. Is there another way of doing this?” 
 
That foundation as an academic with a thirst for learning also clearly drives her determination to professionalise the industry, chairing the Chartered Banker: Professional Standards Board since its inception.
 
“It seemed like an incredibly important element in the landscape of what we need to do to transform banking to return it to the place it used to hold in our minds, which was an institution of trusted individuals who helped those in society both personally and economically,” she said of the quest to professionalise banking.
 
Even before the global financial crisis showed that banking needed to shed its caricature “greed is good” image, there was something different about the chief executive of Lloyds TSB.
 
The bank’s sponsorship of community projects and her determined belief that sustainability helped the bottom line led to her being appointed ambassador for Prince Charles Corporate Social Responsibility scheme.
 
It’s that focus on high ethical standards that has seen the banker continue to champion professionalism.
 
She adds: “It’s important because in a heavily regulated industry we tend to believe that regulation is the highest standard. But regulation is the entry standard.
 
“Professionalism is about a high level of trust, it’s about a high level integrity in terms of the delivery of the products and services to a customer. 
 
“It’s really important where you have an asymmetry of information between the provider - the banker in this case - and the customer. 
 
“The banker knows more about the financial services and the customer has to trust the banker.”
 
Talking about the the behaviour of bankers before the global financial crisis, she said there was a “loss of focus on customer needs” which led to a “a profound and deep loss of trust and confidence”.
 
She added: “Hopefully we have moved well beyond that and hopefully people have learned lessons.”
 
While APRA Chairman Wayne Byres SF FIN needs little introduction, his insight into the state of the Australian financial services sector will also be invaluable to those at the event at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney.
 
And we will be announcing other high profile speakers in the weeks to come.
 
FINSIA chief executive Chris Whitehead said: “We are really excited to be holding the Professionalisation Summit and are determined attendees will walk away with a revitalised view of the industry.
 
“While it is being held just after Commissioner Hayne’s interim report, our long held view that professionalisation is the way to restore the trust deficit pre-dates the Royal Commission which is why we say we should not wait for its findings. 

“Having such knowledgeable speakers is part of FINSIA’s contribution to the continuing dialogue about the issues facing the industry so we can be part of the solution.” 

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  • | Jul 27, 2018

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