From wolves to pussycats: UK bankers have agreed to be well behaved

Former CBI-chief Richard Lambert has recommended setting up an independent banking standards body. Banks have obviously agreed.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 27 Jul 2015

After being blamed by everyone and their mum for the financial crisis, plus allegedly rigging everything from Libor to foreign exchange rates, banks have spent the last couple of years falling over themselves to appear sensible, sober and, most importantly, well behaved.

Today the UK’s biggest banks have agreed to former CBI-chief Richard Lambert’s proposals to create an independent standards body for the unloved industry. This follows Deutsche Bank’s schoolteacher-esque video sent to traders last week, warning them about the ‘serious consequences’ of being ‘boastful, indiscreet and vulgar’.

Lambert’s main proposal is the creation of the Banking Standards Review Council (BSRC), which will have voluntary membership and will require members to report on their culture and practices each year. It will also run training programmes for bankers. Lambert is serving as interim chairman until one is appointed by a panel led by Bank of England governor Mark Carney.

‘I encourage all banks that operate in the UK, both domestic and foreign to support this endeavour. We need a financial system that is safe, fair and acts with integrity,’ Carney said.

In other reformed bankers news, Jérôme Kerviel, the rogue trader who lost French bank Société Générale €4.9bn, finally submitted to the long-arm of Gallic law last night. Kerviel had been walking from Rome (where he met Pope Francis) to Paris for the last two and a half months to highlight the ‘tyranny’ of financial markets. Hmm.

However, he stopped short at the French-Italian border for a couple of days to try and negotiate immunity for witnesses who would apparently testify in his favour (claiming he was doing it for their sake, not his own). A priest who had walked with Kerviel for a few days has now said he is going to continue the walk to Paris in the ex-trader’s place. How divine.

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