The seminar included a focus on the role of senior managers in addressing barriers to the creation and maintenance of healthy cultures.
The conference was an opportunity to discuss challenges and best practice for solo-regulated businesses as those affected prepare for the extension of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR), which will introduce requirements on firms to identify and put in place senior management responsibility and accountability.
Sessions considered the implications for those firms due to implement the SM&CR - looking at the impact on organisational structures and corporate governance; concerns about the implementation costs for the industry; the decision by the FCA to not include Heads of Legal in the Regime and the likely prospects for the Regime in encouraging improved culture in financial services.
Sessions also looked at best practice for senior managers in effectively creating a culture of ‘psychological safety’ and how organisations are approaching the development of ‘speak up, listen up’ cultures that allow employees at all levels to openly address their concerns.
Delegates considered latest measures to improve workplace culture and improve diversity - looking in particular at mental health, stress and wellbeing and improving the pipeline of BME people and women in senior leadership positions. They also discussed the future for the Women in Finance Charter.
Further sessions looked at latest evidence on potential upsides for organisational performance arising from more diverse boards, particularly in times of market stress.
The agenda also included a keynote case study which discussed how different regulators have addressed culture and behaviour in financial services and the lessons that could be learnt by regulators and financial services in the UK.
The conference took place as the Government consults on proposals to abolish the Financial Reporting Council and introduce the new Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority. It also followed the introduction of the new Corporate Governance Code. Sessions considered the implications of these reforms for senior managers and how the new regulator can best work in practice to improve governance, while also providing firms with the flexibility to grow and innovate.
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