Last year’s Barclay Bank Libor-rigging scandal was likely caused by cultural problems following a speedy expansion, according to a recent BBC News article. A study found the financial services firm’s strong culture of winning, siloed departments with different values, and lack of emphasis on customer and client needs led to the breakdown.
The simple fact is that we live in a changing world. The Darwinian theory of having to change in order to survive continues to ring true. Banks and financial services firms have learned this lesson the hard way—through fines, reputational damage and in some cases, having to close their doors.
This pandemic of high-risk attitudes towards winning at the expense of customers has to be cured. In the case of Barclay’s, the answer to restoring the bank’s reputation lays in comprehensive change, according to the news article.
So how can banks make these much-needed changes? The answer exists in two parts.
- Ethics must change throughout the financial services industry, with everyone from the highest C-level executives, to IT help desk technicians ensuring they do. Responsible, transparent behavior needs to be the order of the day. This is by no means going to take place overnight; it will be part of an ongoing journey that all employees must undertake.
- Part of the answer lays in flexible, adaptable and manageable financial services IT solutions that provide the governance, monitoring and reporting capabilities needed from top to bottom. To do this properly, banks need to invest in deploying rules-based technology that can provide the deliverables sought.
Ultimately, good ethics or IT capabilities can’t deliver the sweeping sea of change needed in the financial services industry alone. They must be put into place together. The top-down instilment of ethical behavior must be supported by the thorough governance, monitoring and reporting capability of sound financial services IT solutions. The twain will simply have to meet.