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Executive views on accountability

The 2012 EIU report reveals a mixed response from financial services leaders

The global efforts to re-establish the reputation of the financial services industry are creeping along at an agonizingly slow pace. No wonder the public – their customers – continue to doubt financial industry leaders’ commitment to change.

This slow pace has caused many to believe that bankers still see themselves as privileged and without humility. Do they recognize their function – members of a service industry that provides financial products and advice? Many of the doubters are looking at the industry from the outside and may not understand the complexities – obviously, complexity is not a defense against the need for change – but it helps explain the slow progress being made.

Banking in the 21st century is a complex, fast-paced global industry with vast amounts of data that must be processed in real time or near-real time. Many moving parts are working (yes, in the many cases this is true; a lot of banking is working) to meet a vast array of customer, societal and corporate needs. How do you manage those moving parts and keep a handle on the risks while still regaining public trust? What can you do to ensure your firm meets its goals while being accountable on the ‘right’ levels?

A great deal of pressure from global and country regulators is now placed on financial services firms to create, improve and maintain good risk management practices as an important ingredient to re-establishing trust in financial services. Ultimately, though, the way that these executives view accountability to the societies within which they operate will dictate the success or failure of these developments in governance, risk and compliance.

The 2012 EIU report Society, shareholders and self-interest reveals how senior bankers view their accountability: Do bankers have a responsibility beyond maximising profits?

So how accountable do senior bankers think they should be? Take a look at the YouTube video from SAS highlighting key findings from the report. Also see how risk management has become an important part of getting the right balance between “gut feel” and “analytical data points.” 

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