We don’t have to reinvent the wheel

From Mr Gary Mead.

Sir, Before we all rush to judge Antony Jenkins a failure in his role as Barclays chief executive (“Dark pool allegations a double blow to pledge of ‘Saint Antony’ ”, June 27), we need to remember the gargantuan scale of his task. When he took the role less than two years ago, Mr Jenkins said it might take a decade to change Barclays’ culture. He was probably optimistic; Sir Richard Lambert, in presenting his Banking Standards Review in the House of Commons recently, said it might take a generation to change the toxic culture of banking.

Unfortunately, Mr Jenkins, Barclays – and more important, the UK’s financial services industry – cannot afford a decade, let alone a generation, of reputational death by a thousand cuts. Mere exhortations won’t work. Preaching ethical behaviour never works on those who are accustomed to behaving badly and getting away with it. We urgently need a structure in financial services that discourages individual adventurism, such that the customer, big or small, is assured that their interests are aligned with those of the company providing the financial service.

We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The partnership culture, which emphasises high employee ownership and puts the client first, the company second and self third, is ready to hand.

Gary Mead, Executive Director, The New City Initiative, London EC2, UK

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