WEDNESDAY 7 MAR 2018 5:20 PM


Since the global financial crash of 2008, the UK’s financial services industry has found great difficulty in vindicating the wider reputation of the profession. Endowed with a steady reprisal of public scrutiny, subsequent years have seen economic downturn deepen ill feeling towards the sector. Despite an embedded lack of trust however, a recent study indicates rising confidence in financial services.

The Financial Services Reputation Index, an inaugural report compiled by public relations and public affairs firm, MHP Communications, takes a closer look at the wider reputability of the financial industry, from mortgages and insurance to private equity and venture capital. Conducted in collaboration with research and strategy consultancy, Populus, the report surveyed 1,089 adults online from across the UK.

The report indicated that as many as 55% of respondents felt that banks had a good reputation, rising to 89% when asked about their own bank. Elsewhere however, confidence in payday loans, fintech and pension funds remains under 35%. Of the respondents that felt that the financial services sector had a bad reputation, 71% believed that the sector only works for its own self-interest. Similarly, 69% of the same group of respondents believed the sector was responsible for the financial crash, and that executives’ salaries were too high.

Mike Robb, managing director and head of financial services at MHP Communications, says, “These figures demonstrate incredible progress in rehabilitating the financial services industry’s reputation since the depths of the crisis. The positive turnaround in banking is particularly noteworthy, but with two in five still holding a negative view about the sector’s reputation it is certainly not a case of ‘job done.’”

Interestingly, age patterns also found relevance throughout the study. The youngest group of respondents, aged 18-24, had the most positive view of the sector, recorded at 67%. This figure experienced a sharp drop when moving beyond the age of 25, marked at 50-58% across the remaining age categories.

The report also asked what the financial services industry could do to enhance its reputation, with 22% of respondents supporting less pay for senior management and 17% favouring better rates on products. Comparatively however, the report also found that 23% of respondents agreed that the sector’s lending woes were ongoing, a figure that was integral to the post-financial crisis criticisms, especially with regards to SMEs.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the report was the financial services industry’s ranking up against the ‘trustworthiness’ of other professions. Respondents felt that lawyers were the most trustworthy at 65%. Traffic wardens came in second, with a 51% rate of trust, a figure that eclipsed the banking sector by more than 20%. Below bankers however, estate agents, journalists and politicians take the crown as the report’s least trusted professions.

For a closer look at the Financial Services Reputation Index, click here.



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