FCA: Reform of banks’ sales incentives at ‘top of the agenda’

John Griffith-Jones
FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones

The Financial Conduct Authority says concerns about banks’ sales incentives are at the “top of the agenda” and refuses to rule out an outright ban in the future.

Speaking to the Treasury select committee today, FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones said he understands the way incentives can affect staff beahviour.

He said: “The objective is for the customer to be treated fairly and whether it requires a ban on incentives as opposed to moderating it, we should wait and see.

“It is absolutely at the top of our agenda. FCA chief executive Martin Whetaley did a short piece of work recently studying 22 banks’ systems and we did not like what we found. It is very high on the agenda.

“The first thing we must do is to understand because there are different schemes in different banks. To the extent we believe they are leading to bad conduct then we will insist they are changed.”

Griffith-Jones welcomed moves by Lloyds Banking Group, Barlcays and the Co-Opertive bank to incentivise staff based on customer service levels instead of sales targets.

Lloyds group is currently under FSA investigation for concerns around its sales incentive schemes, as the FSA promises a crackdown after its review over the summer.