It seems reasonable to expect bankers to meet the same regulatory standard as solicitors.
Financial services regulation in the UK has a chequered history when it comes to apportioning direct blame for events that rock the economy – famously, no banker spent time in a UK jail for their role in creating our most recent financial crisis.
As is noted in our financial services feature, sanctions against individuals for such confidence-shaking conduct as Libor and forex manipulation have been remarkably contained in their scope. Behaviour a layperson would identify as fraud apparently had little response in law.
Why the ability to regulate individuals and their conduct should have proved such a puzzler will strike solicitors, who are closely regulated, as odd. The strict regulatory framework that solicitors work within is justified by reference to the need to protect client money, the public and the rule of law – a standard it also seems reasonable to expect from bankers and traders.
A solicitor who gives a lie knows it can be career-ending – as can mismanagement of finances and accounts, even where there is no loss to any party. The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal decisions published in two editions of the Gazette can equal the numerical total achieved by the Financial Conduct Authority over a much longer period.
In light of the challenges the financial services industry faces in keeping its people on the straight and narrow, perhaps the burden of regulation lawyers carry starts to look like a positive.