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How financial services can continue to build trust

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 07 Apr 2022

The financial services sector must back up positive talk of acting on issues such as climate change with hard data and real action if it is to regain consumer trust.

This means that press releases and speeches given by senior industry figures must be followed up with evidence or else risk exacerbating rather than alleviating the current trust deficit that the sector is operating under.

According to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer, the industry has successfully regained some ground in terms of consumer trust, with its improvement of 10 points over the last decade outscoring all other sectors. 

However, in spite of this improvement it remains firmly at the bottom of the list and the only sector deemed not to merit the status of being trusted.

“There is a huge amount of scepticism on what any corporate entity is saying on sustainability or any ethical matter, because people just think it’s PR,” said Peter van Veen, Director of Corporate Governance and Stewardship at ICAEW. “You are starting with a trust deficit so to get people to really listen and accept what you’re saying, you are going to have to tell a good story and back it up with real and hard data.”

This need to take a more values-based approach to global issues plays into a number of key findings from the survey that showed a clear demand both internally and externally for the sector to make significant progress.

When asked whether they agreed that ‘capitalism as it stands’ does more harm than good, the strength of agreement within financial services (67%) was found to be stronger than the average of 60% of respondents as a whole.

The survey identified a clear appetite among global consumers for businesses to take greater steps in combating societal issues with a gap of 43 points in favour of believing they are not doing enough on climate change.

This was also the case for economic inequality (40 points) and systemic injustice (32 points).

The full feature, Regaining trust in financial services, is available on the Financial Services Faculty insurance stream. 

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