The Challenges of Leading in a Regulatory Environment

By BlessingWhite , a Division of GP Strategies

With many financial services organizations facing large fines for mis-selling, non-compliance, tax avoidance and rate fixing – this sector has undergone close scrutiny with regard to its ethics, accountability, compliance and customer focus.


Together with Bath Consultancy Group and BlessingWhite, divisions of GP Strategies, set out to research and explore the current challenges regulation brings to leaders in financial services. From a series of interviews with operational and compliance experts, line leaders, and senior executives across different organizations facing regulation we have compiled a written report of our key findings-Giving insights and recommendations for how leaders can create an ethical high performance culture in the financial services industry.


Regulated environments are at a continuous learning edge, balancing innovation and entrepreneurialism while following due processes with rigor and precision. A significant slip up could now cost millions of pounds in fines and cause untold damage to a brand, so it is important for leaders to ensure talented individuals aren’t paralyzed by analysis and fear, and are given the right kind of training, motivation and rewards to develop the mind-sets required.


The key findings of the report include the following:


  • In such a constantly shifting landscape, leaders must communicate very clear principles about what is important and valued in order to guide priorities and actions.
  • Leaders now need to see their organization through the lens of multiple stakeholders, including customers, employees and regulators, in order to get the right balance between profitability and prudence.
  • Financial services leaders must take responsibility and adopt a collaborative approach in order to shift the culture and conduct of the industry.
  • Leaders may need to focus on their employee brand and recruitment processes, in order to attract and develop the right kind of talent who will be motivated for high performance while maintaining the integrity of the organization.
  • In order to achieve sustainable change, leaders must invest in education that aligns activity with a strong ‘why’ to create a sense of purpose and custodianship in financial services long-term.