"We need to find ways to ensure that competition for customers can revolve around quality of service, good value and partnership, rather than only headline cost."
The Chartered Body Alliance is challenging the FCA to do more to support professionalism in UK financial services.
The Alliance is composed of the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and the Chartered Banker Institute, and has a combined global membership of 200,000.
It has sent an open letter to CEO Andrew Bailey, urging the FCA to increase its engagement rate with professional bodies, which, it says, are "obvious partners to help the regulator achieve consumer trust in the UK sector and set a model for others around the world".
In its letter, the Alliance positions itself to the FCA as a “third force” on the financial services horizon (not regulatory, nor organisational), focusing on delivering cultural change across the profession.
Simon Culhane, Chartered FCSI and CISI CEO, said: “We stress to the regulator and the public at large the benefits to be obtained from engaging 200,000 professional body members, who are in positions of influence throughout the profession.”
Simon Thompson, CEO of the Chartered Banker Institute, commented: “As the professional bodies representing over 200,000 individuals we have a key role to play in helping current members and future generations develop the knowledge and skills required to work with technology to support customers. As such it is important that regulators recognise and more publicly acknowledge this role, our work and the personal commitment of our members and those achieving our professional standards.”
Sian Fisher, CEO of the Chartered Insurance Institute, added: “It is rare that anyone wakes up in the morning determined to do the wrong thing, yet that is where we sometimes find ourselves. Behavioural economics shows that as human beings we have an unconscious bias to preferring the status quo over changing things. So in a competitive market that can all too easily translate into the keenest deals going to new customers. But we all know that unequal treatment, especially if it seems totally illogical, breeds distrust in the long run. Working with the Regulator we need to find ways to ensure that competition for customers can revolve around quality of service, good value and partnership, rather than only headline cost. If not, we will continue distortion to price to the detriment of customers and the profession alike.”