Following a high-profile bullying scandal, the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) chair Charlotte Crosswell has said that taking action now is important to “secure and build on the significant achievements that have been made in open banking”.
Imran Gulamhuseinwala resigned as trustee and chair of the OBIE last month, following an independent investigation commissioned by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and overseen by Alison White. The investigation found that the working environment created a real risk that discrimination, victimisation and harassment could occur and could go unchecked.
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She has now agreed with the CMA that taking immediate steps to improve current governance is a top priority for both the CMA and OBIE, alongside addressing the other serious issues highlighted in the investigation report.
Crosswell said the sentiment conveyed to her so far is that the OBIE of today is making good progress on many of the issues highlighted, but the report’s findings mean that there is “absolutely no scope for complacency or lack of action”.
OBIE appointed Jeremy Newman as a non-executive director last month and Crosswell said she anticipates OBIE to be in a position to hire another director before the end of the year.
Crosswell said her and Newman have overseen the procurement process for two firms that will provide the OBIE with the necessary support to examine and address the report’s recommendations.
The first is the appointment of an experienced and reputable independent third party to handle complaints.
She added the second firm, which OBIE hopes to appoint shortly, will provide the board, herself and other OBIE colleagues with additional support to help address the findings as quickly as possible and action the recommendations within the report.
These include: a progress report of OBIE, reviewing the HR agenda and organisational structure, and the work being undertaken around culture and values and implementing and operationalising OBIE governance changes.
“Whilst there has been progress, and I would like to thank all OBIE colleagues and stakeholders that have made this possible since my appointment, this work does and should take time,” Crosswell said in an update on the OBIE’s website.
“I am determined that all the changes we make are both considered and appropriate, and always in keeping with best practice.
“It is important for me that we prioritise people, both internally and externally to the OBIE, and I am committed to building a culturally progressive, inclusive and fit for purpose organisation.
“Since joining, I have already spoken to hundreds of people from the wider open banking ecosystem. It is wonderful to hear the collaboration and innovation taking place. However, it is important that I take the necessary steps to ensure that OBIE continues to deliver on its open banking mission and that it does so in the right way.
“There will be a number of internal developments in the coming weeks which we will be sharing direct with the OBIE team and the CMA. I will also commit to providing additional significant updates externally when relevant.”