Research reveals half of society believe integrity is key to rebuild trust in business

New research from the City of London Corporation shows that many people believe having integrity is critical to rebuilding trust in financial and professional services businesses.

In November 2017, Charles Bowman, the Lord Mayor of London, launched the City of London Corporation’s Business of Trust initiative. The Business of Trust programme established five Civic Principles as foundations for increasing trust in business.

Key findings from the research show that almost half of people (46%) say a focus on integrity is most important principle business should focus on in order to build public trust.

In the survey, more than 9 out of 10 people said that competence and skills, integrity, value to society, clear communication and a focus on the interests of others are key principles that businesses must consider in order to be trusted by the public.

Views varied depending on occupation and sector. 54% of respondents from Accountancy, Banking and Finance prioritised Integrity, while 36% of respondents from Healthcare prioritised Competence and Skills .43% of respondents from Marketing, Advertising & PR prioritised Clear Communication.

The survey, conducted between March and November 2018, sought views on these principles, and what practical actions people and organisations can take, to increase trust in business.

There were over 600 respondents to the survey open to individuals in a personal or professional capacity. Respondents came from professions and communities from across the UK, including healthcare, law, education, government and business.

The survey also found that Millennials have different views on the drivers of trust than their parents and grandparents. Only one in ten of those aged over 66 prioritise ‘Value to Society’ as the most important driver of trust in business, but this principle becomes increasingly important as we move down the generations. More than a quarter of those aged over 19 and under 30 (26%) said it was the most important principle to improving trust.

Charles Bowman, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said:

“These findings show that the public strongly believe that financial and professional services business can rebuild trust if they incorporate key values into how they act and run their companies.

“There is no short-term fix or single solution, with different communities and age groups prioritising different principles as most important to building trust – but by taking a lead on demonstrating positive actions and values, firms can meet the changing expectations of society.

“With behaviour and culture increasingly under the public microscope businesses are looking to review their values and culture to meet the changing, and varied, expectations of consumers, employees and the public.”

Results showed a clear desire, across all ages and sectors, for businesses to have a clear purpose beyond profit-making.

Other popular actions to increase trust included: empowering frontline staff with the tools to resolve customer/client problems, incorporating organisational values into appraisals, and publishing Chief Executive’s contact details, so that stakeholders can provide direct feedback.

Alongside the survey, the City of London Corporation will be launching a new website on Wednesday 7 November, to help businesses navigate the complex area of Trust. “Navigating the trust journey” provides practical help to businesses to guide them on their trust journey.

It will also provide inspiration to think about how their organisation engages with its stakeholders. What more can they do to build and maintain trust? Where do they want to be in the future? www.navigatingthetrustjourney.


Media Enquiries

Kristina Drake

Media Officer, City of London Corporation

07710860884 / 020 7332 1125

Notes to editors

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. 

About the Business of Trust:

The Business of Trust was formally launched by the City of London Corporation and spearheaded by The Lord Mayor, Alderman Charles Bowman, in November 2017.

Prompted by the sharp decline in public trust, the initiative sought to improve the trustworthiness of the UK financial and professional services sector and create a legacy of better business trusted by society.

During the year, the Business of Trust “shone a spotlight” on the issues that have an impact of trust and inspired action across the financial and professional services sector and beyond; empowering business to embed trustworthy practices in the workplace and encouraging those at school to think about what trust means for them.

As part of the Programme 40 Trust interviews undertaken by the Lord Mayor with leading figures across the world to influence policy and encourage change in organisational behaviour.

A vital part of the work has been the creation of a “legacy of trust” with the development of a programme of work to support City businesses to take this work forward over the coming years. This includes the creation of a network of Leaders of Tomorrow - a group of next generation financial and professional services leaders.

These ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ are 5-10 years away from board level with the energy and influence to make a difference in not only in their own organisations but across the wider sector.

The Business of Trust survey is still open via the Lord Mayor’s s Twitter page @citylordmayor.

Kristina Drake| Media Officer, Public Services

City of London Corporation

M: 07710860884

D: 020 7332 1125