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Conduct Risk: It’s Not What You Do, It’s WHY You Do It

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The aftermath of the financial disaster of 2008 sparked significant adjustments to the approach taken toward financial services regulation all over the world. Even though the immediate priorities involved stabilising and repairing firms’ balance sheets and implementing liquidity and capital reforms, the regulators’ attention and resources are currently centred around the behaviour of firms and exactly how they conduct their business. Although managing risks has accelerated, mitigating conduct risk has become one of the highest priorities for regulators worldwide, a universally agreed concise explanation conduct risk does not, as yet, exist. Perhaps Conduct Risk should be re-badged as “Culture Risk,” as it may be better understood by all, except that culture would be even more far reaching and encompassing tradition, customs, ways of life and all these things that form the background for operations of the financial services world. Conduct Risk is what it says on the tin, concerning the conduct not only of individuals acting solely or in collusion, but also supervisors, middle and senior management and firms as a collective in the identification of customer’s needs, providing real solutions, priced fairly and made available for all. Additionally firms need to be able to identify risk from products and practices that are on the regulatory radar such as forbearance in the mortgage market, product design and oversight in the asset management sector, or cross selling in full service or investment banking groups. The true measure of a successful conduct risk framework will be the risk-based assessment of the portfolio and scenario analysis, before adapting future product, service or distribution design and customer engagement strategies, taking action in relation to issues that arise before the regulators start to take notice. In response to changing regulatory expectations compliance and risk officers, as well as other senior managers at financial services firms are comin


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