Launch of New City Agenda

Today sees the launch of New City Agenda with Sir Richard Lambert, giving a lecture in Parliament on Culture and Banking Standards.

Today’s event also marks the introduction of our own Project looking at ‘How should we change the culture of banks?’ Whilst many have diagnosed the problem, there is a need for further examination of how this positive change can be achieved and how progress should be measured. New City Agenda will not revisit well-trodden ground in this area but will provide recommendations that will assist in the shaping of Sir Richard’s new Banking Standards organisation.

Alongside our Project, we will be running a series of lectures in Parliament given by prominent figures. These lectures will focus on institutions who are going through or have been through significant cultural change. We believe there may be some lessons that banks can draw from these insights.

In 2009, the former Chair of the FSA, Lord Adair Turner stated, “The City has grown too big and parts of it are ‘socially useless’.” In his view, ‘socially useless’ activity referred to complex financial instruments that have largely been blamed for triggering the financial crisis of 2008.

Five years later, there is still a pressing need to focus on the socially beneficial activity undertaken by the City and clearly an opportunity for positive policy development.

An organisation is required which will emphasise the positive values of The City of London whilst acknowledging ongoing existing problems. New City Agenda will identify and enhance “high social value” activity and assist in creating fully sustainable policy.

New City Agenda has been established as a forum to provide fresh thinking on issues relating to Financial Services and thereby, assist in the development of appropriate and sustainable public policy. It is a response to the lack of new ideas and challenging perspectives emerging from current analyses of the issues facing the industry, government and consumers. Set up as a politically non-partisan body with involvement across the political spectrum, New City Agenda will include representatives from the financial services industry, consumers and other relevant areas.

The founding Directors – Lord McFall (Chair), David Davis MP and Lord Sharkey will be supported by myself along with a small staff and an Advisory Group comprising senior figures from politics, the industry and other stakeholders. Members include The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Baroness Patience Wheatcroft, Lord Eatwell, Philip Augar, Baroness Hayter, Father Christopher Jamison and Peter Vicary-Smith.

I look forward to the challenge that lies ahead over the coming years and will be keen to hear from organisations, who like us, believe Financial Services can play an important role in fostering real social and economic worth.