High-level summary: BCBS SIG industry workshop on governance, culture and conduct

Basel, 7 November 2018.

The Basel Committee's Supervision and Implementation Group (SIG) met with senior representatives from internationally active banks and associated industry associations on 7 November 2018 to discuss key initiatives and challenges with respect to risk governance and operationalising the lines of defence, embedding a strong risk culture and managing non-financial risks. The Workshop was attended by senior supervisors and corporate governance experts from Basel Committee member jurisdictions and chaired by Mr William Coen, Secretary General of the BCBS.

The workshop continues the Committee's long-standing efforts to promote and monitor the adoption of sound corporate governance practices for banking organisations. In July 2015, the Basel Committee issued the Corporate governance principles for banks (2015 Principles) and in August 2016, the SIG held an industry workshop to discuss progress made with the implementation of the 2015 Principles.

Since then, a number of BCBS member jurisdictions have further articulated their expectations on risk culture and conduct, and many have also implemented or further strengthened individual responsibility and accountability regimes. Banks have also made significant progress in further strengthening their governance regimes, focusing their efforts on developing robust risk cultures and managing non-financial risks, such as conduct.

While good progress has been made, participants discussed ongoing challenges with fully embedding governance, culture and conduct initiatives. Areas discussed include:

  • the need to consider how prescribed accountabilities may lead to silos across the lines of defence;
  • strengthening the ownership of risks within the first line business units;
  • developing and triangulating initiatives to measure and assess non-financial risks and risk culture metrics;
  • more emphasis towards rewarding good conduct, as opposed to focusing on misconduct;
  • and emerging risks for governance as a result of the adoption of new technologies.

The workshop not only allowed supervisors to understand the key challenges facing banks with their efforts to strengthen governance and risk culture but it also provided the opportunity for the industry participants to raise questions to the supervisory community on the implementation of the 2015 Principles. More generally, supervisors highlighted that 10 years on from the crisis, in good times there is a risk of banks being overly confident and efforts to ensure that a strong governance and risk culture is firmly embedded should continue. Participants agreed that industry engagement and information sharing was beneficial and future outreach will again be considered.