Trinity Professor in Corporate Law Blanaid Clarke has called on all corporate boards to review their oversight role in managing organisational cultural risks, including sexual assault. The call came during a conference on culture and diversity in the financial services sector today. Trinity hosted the conference, which was opened by Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe.
The conference was hosted jointly by Trinity’s School of Law and the Central Bank. It seeks to investigate the Central Bank’s report entitled “Review of Behaviour and Culture of the Irish Retail Banks”, and to “consider the lessons to be drawn from it”.
Speaking at the event, Professor Clarke noted that we had seen a year where “issues of sexual misconduct and sexism have dominated public discourse”, and that this was a reason for boards to “re-examine their oversight role in relation to this aspect of organisational culture”. She called for recognising the “personal toll on victims”, and said that it “destroys morale and retention as well as the increased reputational and litigation risk”.
Minister Donohoe urged for a rebuilding of trust in the banking sector and said that it is a “priority for the government”. He said that the report was made so that sector could begin to “prioritise customer interests in the future”. He also noted that it is “imperative that we see a real shift in people’s perception of banks”, and that “customer care is central to financial services’ operations”
Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Ed Sibley also spoke at the conference. He praised the conference as being “crucially important to the Central Bank’s mandate to safeguard stability and protect consumers”. He said that the need for trust was “necessary for the delivery of our vision for financial services as a whole”. He also believed that if firms wish to regain the trust of the public, “they must earn it”.
The conference also heard from Derville Rowland, Director General of Financial Conduct, and Professor Ian McNeil, Head of the School of Law at the University of Glasgow. The event was held in the Edmund Burke Theatre this morning.