DP18/2: Transforming culture in financial services

The paper is a collection of 28 essays from thought leading academics, industry leaders, international regulators and change practitioners. It is intended to provide a basis for stimulating further debate on transforming culture in the sector.

Show DP18/2 (PDF)

Culture in financial services is widely accepted as a key root cause of the major conduct failings that have occurred within the industry in recent history. Given its impact, firms’ culture is a priority for the FCA. We expect firms to foster cultures which support the spirit of regulation in preventing harm to consumers and markets.

The collection of essays discuss what a good culture might look like, the role of regulation and regulators, how firms might go beyond incentives, and how to change behaviour for the better.

We hope that the range of views expressed in this paper can act as a springboard to speed up the pace of change, build consensus and, ultimately, drive better outcomes for consumers and markets.

What you can do

We are not requesting formal feedback on this paper, however, we would like all those with an interest in financial services to consider the issues in the paper and to engage in the debate about what constitutes a healthy culture and how to promote it.

This paper offers actionable insights for financial services leaders and practitioners to consider how they effect change in their organisations. These include:

  • using behavioural science to guide incentives and cultural change
  • looking beyond the role of leadership in effecting change
  • applying strategic focus to the continuous process for adapting culture
  • fostering environments of trust to encourage openness and learning
  • applying a systems perspective in assessing both internal culture and external influencers

Next steps

As a regulator, the FCA remains committed to understanding ways to improve culture in financial services. We intend to continue our engagement with the external financial services community to gather practical examples of how the insights from this paper can be applied in practice.

Alongside our industry partners, we hope to explore questions such as how to raise management of ‘culture’ as a leadership discipline to the level of rigour and importance as ‘strategic planning’ and ‘risk management’. Thus we will continue to pursue questions in this domain.