On 8 March 2016, the Banking Standards Board (BSB) published its first annual review after its initial launch in April 2015.

The annual review looks back over the work of the BSB’s first few months.  Most notably, the BSB carried out its first pilot assessment of ten major firms in 2015.  The assessment analysed a firm’s performance against its objectives on behaviour, competence and culture.

The key themes that emerged from the 2015 assessment, which the BSB will explore further in 2016, include:

  • The alignment of a firm’s purpose, values and culture.
  • The difference between a focus on culture and compliance.
  • Leadership and key person risk.
  • Incentive and reward structures.
  • Fostering challenge and speaking up.
  • Provision, take-up and effectiveness of staff training and support.

The BSB hopes that the annual assessment cycle will build up an evidence-based picture of developments across the sector that will facilitate collective efforts to raise standards, benchmark performance and share good practice.

The annual review also identifies a number of key priorities for the BSB during 2016.  These include:

  • Designing and undertaking the 2016 assessment exercise, building on the 2015 pilot and scaled up to include a wider number of member firms.
  • Promoting professionalism across all parts of the banking sector and at all levels.
  • Exploring the relationship between law, regulation and ethics, and what this means in the specific context of banking and banking culture.
  • Developing voluntary standards that will support a better service for customers and other relevant parties across the sector.