On the day of his appointment as the new Chairman of TheCityUK, Standard Life’s Gerry Grimstone is speaking at the organisation’s Annual Dinner at Mansion House. Gerry will warn the industry that it needs to remember it is delivering a service to clients and must put customers back at the heart of everything they do. He will say that this new attitude must be driven from the top of organisations with Chairmen and Boards taking the lead, and ultimately responsibility for the actions of their businesses.
Gerry will also address the threats to London’s position as the leading global financial centre. He will stress the need for the UK to be at the heart of Europe and fulfil its role as Europe’s financial centre.
Gerry Grimstone, new Chairman of TheCityUK and Chairman at Standard Life, will say:
“There is an important point in the description of our industry – financial and professional services. I sometimes think that we forget ‘services’ are all about the desire to serve. At some point we lost that desire to serve and that needs to be brought back into focus.
“This means proving our value and regaining trust and credibility in the eyes of a sceptical public. To do this a fundamental realignment is required, putting the customer at the very heart of the industry – a ‘new deal’ for our customers.
“We have to ensure that the UK financial services sector conducts its business in line with the highest standards of integrity. Responsibility for integrity lies at the very top of companies and partnerships, with Boards and in particular with the Chairman. As one of the longest-standing Chairmen of a major financial services company in the UK, I see company ethics, integrity and corporate governance at the core of my responsibilities.
“We need to get ahead of past issues and fundamentally rebuild the integrity and trust that had underpinned the City’s success for generations. We know there are lessons to be learnt. There is a need to focus on ethical change, rather than just behavioural compliance, and we need to redouble our efforts as a sector to drive home the message that ‘doing the right thing’ is as important as obeying the rules.
“The scale of the challenge may appear daunting, but the financial crisis and its aftermath present an opportunity to reappraise our industry, and place it on a firmer footing for long-term success.”
On the UK’s role in Europe Gerry will say:
“The City must be an integral part of the European financial services framework and have complete and unfettered access to the wholesale Euro markets.
“We have not made the case strongly enough how important it is that the UK remains the EU's financial centre. London benefits from attracting firms that want easy access to the Single Market.
“So we need to protect and promote the Single Market. That means greater engagement at a European level, given the weight of regulation that now emanates from Brussels, and taking steps to ensure this occurs at an earlier stage – playing a larger role in proactively informing and shaping the EU and wider international policy agenda.”
Gerry Grimstone succeeds Stuart Popham as Chairman of TheCityUK. He will work closely with the organisation’s management team, including Chief Executive Chris Cummings, to ensure TheCityUK continues to champion the financial and professional services sector, both in the UK and overseas. Gerry will continue in his roles as Chairman of Standard Life and independent Board member of Deloitte LLP.
Sarah Wetherell [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons