Ex-CBI Chief Lambert To Lead New Banking Body
Sir Richard Lambert, the former head of the CBI, is to lead the development of a new professional standards body charged with repairing the image of Britain's battered banking industry.
Sky News can reveal that Sir Richard, who is also a former editor of the Financial Times, will be appointed in the coming days as the chairman of the new organisation.
Proposals for the new body are being drawn up by a panel of Britain's biggest banks as they recover from a series of mis-selling scandals and the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Barclays and its chairman, Sir David Walker, are understood to be leading the work, which is also receiving input from the British Bankers' Association.
The recruitment of Sir Richard is a coup amid concerns that the new standards body would struggle to attract a heavyweight candidate with few previous direct connections to the major banks.
"Independence from the big banks was crucial if the new body was to be seen to be credible in Westminster," said a person close to the recruitment process.
Among the other people initially approached about leading the body was Lord Hunt, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, who was sounded out almost a year ago.
Further impetus for the creation of the professional standards organisation has been provided by the backing of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (PCBS), which said in June that "preliminary work to establish a professional body should begin immediately as a demonstration that commitment to high standards is expected throughout banking and that individuals are expected to abide by higher standards than those that can be enforced through regulation alone".
The PCBS, which was chaired by the Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, also insisted that any new body "must never allow itself to become a cosy sinecure for retired bank chairmen and City grandees. Just as importantly, it must eschew from the outset and by dint of its constitution any role in advocacy for the interests of banks individually or collectively."
Mr Tyrie also argued that the new body should seek to encompass every bank with operations in the UK, warning that if any were to shun the move to improve professional standards, it would damage the effectiveness of the initiative.
Since leaving the CBI in 2010, Sir Richard has collected a portfolio of jobs, including as a senior adviser to Deutsche Bank, chancellor of the University of Warwick, lead non-executive at the Foreign Office, and a non-executive director of EY, the accountancy firm.
Sir Richard could not be reached for comment, while the BBA declined to comment.