CII plan for greater professionalism

As part of its long-term drive to promote greater levels of professionalism and ethical behaviour in insurance and financial services, ‘Twenty-First Century Professionalism' analyses professionalism in the broader context of how all the professions have evolved, what professionalism means, its role in society and what the public expects from a professional.

Making the case for raising standards and a modern, public facing role for professionalism, it argues that the role of a professional in society should not be taken for granted, as the public often questions the notion that ‘the expert knows best'.

The document looks at the dual challenges facing professionalism:

  • Declining trust; where consumerism, the Internet and media scrutiny have combined to lead the public to question the authority of the professions like never before
  • The Regulatory Ratchet; where oversight is likely to continue to ramp up following the financial crisis.
The response to this challenge is to embark on the long road to recapturing public trust by adopting greater professional and ethical standards, along with commitment to integrity and to continuous learning and improvement. All the professions should learn from best practice among each other and demonstrate the strong and positive social value of professionalism.

CII chief executive, Dr Alexander Scott, said: "The present banking crisis has starkly illustrated the public's concern over professional standards and endangers public trust and confidence.

"The CII has long advocated higher professional standards, pre-dating the Financial Services Authority's Retail Distribution Review, which applies directly only to the retail investment products sector. We believe that general insurance must be moving in a similar direction.

"I am confident that the CII can meet the challenge of supporting the development of a modern profession including the need to ensure we as a professional body support this. Indeed, the CII has the opportunity to build on our legacy and guide the whole sector to a new standard of excellence fit for the twenty-first century while supporting our Royal Charter's ambition to "secure and justify the confidence of the public".