Financial News

  • 16 June 2014, 14:28

John Lewis Chief To Help Bank Standards Drive

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, is among a trio of public figures who will play a key role in choosing the leadership of a new body charged with repairing the reputation of British banking.

Sky News has learnt that Sir Charlie has agreed in principle to join a selection panel which will appoint the inaugural chairman of the Banking Standards Review Council (BSRC), which will be formally launched later this year.

The BSRC is the brainchild of Sir Richard Lambert, the former CBI director-general, and the chairmen of the seven biggest UK lenders.

The new organisation's leadership will be vital if it is to persuade politicians and the public that the banking sector is serious about rehabilitating itself after the financial crisis and a string of mis-selling and market manipulation scandals.

Sir Charlie's involvement underlines the extent to which John Lewis is held up as a benchmark of responsible capitalism.

Sources said on Monday that Sir Richard had also sounded out Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, and Baroness O'Neill, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, to sit on the selection committee.

It was unclear whether the Archbishop or Baroness O'Neill had accepted the temporary role.

Sky News revealed last month that Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor, had agreed to chair the selection panel for the BSRC appointment.

In his speech at Mansion House in the City last week, Mr Carney said that an improvement in standards was necessary after allegations that London's foreign exchange markets had been rigged.

"Specific codes for professionals in markets will complement broader efforts to raise standards in banking by the new Banking Standards Review Council. For those in markets we need a simple approach that recognises a fundamental principle of the City: namely that true markets are the source of dynamism, prosperity and progress," he said.

"Seeking to manipulate, game or profit from unfair access transgresses that principle. It weakens the effectiveness of markets for all. It holds back prosperity. It should thus have clear consequences, including professional ostracism.

"We must work together to ensure that everyone on every trading floor understands that dealing in a market means serving the needs of clients, investors and customers fairly and effectively."

Sir Richard said last month that the BSRC would not act as a substitute for the regulatory oversight of the Financial Conduct Authority but would challenge banks to pursue good practice.

A John Lewis Partnership spokesman declined to comment on Sir Charlie's involvement, while a spokesman for Sir Richard also declined to comment.

 

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