Went to a breakfast presentation this morning, held by the FCS. The subject was “The State of Trust in Financial Services 2010”. Let’s face it, I didn’t expect that the content would be upbeat. It was not. But the subject is interesting and provocative and the speakers were very good.
The core of the presentation was the Edelman 2010 Trust Barometer survey. This past year, the survey, for the first time, did a deep dive on the financial services industry. The findings show that when all categories (NGOs, Business, Government, Media) are combined, the level of trust in institutions tends to track with the S&P. Trust levels overall have bounced back from the 2009 lows by an average of 18%. Not so for banks–trust in banks continues to decline.
What does “trust” mean in the context of the survey? It means the ability and willingness of a company or institution to “do the right thing”.
Tech companies are the most trusted, according to Edelman. The worst? Financial Services.
The drill down allowed for segmentation within the Financial Services industry by type of company. Community and regional banks rank highest, and private equity firms are lowest, even worse than investment bankers.
So what’s the industry supposed to do?
1. Stop fighting with regulators, and work with them for a change
2. Be honest and transparent
3. Focus on quality not quantity of communications
4. Spend less time pushing product and more time providing service
5. Engage employees and customers alike
I will provide my point of view on these in my next post.