Sants wishes bankers had been more honest

  • 24 October 2012
  • From the section Business
  • comments

Hector Sants, who recently quit as the UK's top financial regulator, said on Wednesday that he wished "bankers had been more honest".

Speaking at the Said Business School, Mr Sants - who was chief executive of the Financial Services Authority from July 2007 to July 2012, and was an investment banker for most of his career - said that he did not mean that most of them had deliberately lied to him and his colleagues.

But he said that many of them were routinely "self-delusional" about the risks they were running.

Sants was participating in a debate on trust in financial markets (in which I was also a panellist).

Among the reforms he wanted to see to restore trust was the abolition of what he called "revenue-related incentives", or pay for bankers that is directly linked to the revenues they generate - to eliminate temptations for them to engage in bonus-generating deals that could turn out to be toxic.

The new chief executive of Barclays, Antony Jenkins, recently announced that branch staff would no longer have their bonuses dependent on the volume of financial products they sell. But many bankers continue to be rewarded for sales rather than the quality of the relationship with customers.

Mr Sants also advocated a new code of practice for the industry.