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Systemic Risk Centre Event

Date: 12th October 2023   Time: 14:30 - 18:00 BST 
Venue: Room 9.04, Conference Suite, 9th floor, Fawcett House, LSE (map)
Organiser: Prof. Daniel Beunza (Bayes Business School, City University of London and Systemic Risk Centre, London School of Economics)
Speakers: Mats Alvesson (University of Bath, Lund University and Bayes), Max Beilby (Citi), Daniel Beunza (Bayes and SRC/LSE), Kate Coombs (FSCB), Alison Cottrell (FSCB), Peter Ewing (FCA), Carol Franceschini (Standard Chartered), Simon Roberts (Stripe Partners), Hana Searson (Citi), Qamar Zaman (Stripe Partners)


Chari of first panel, Carol Franceschini, Standard Chartered
Donna Charmichel, PhD student, asking a question from the audience
Daniel Beunza in foreground and Kate Coombs in background on panel discussion
First panel of SRC event "New approaches to culture in financial services"
Qamar Zaman and Simon Roberts on panel

A decade after the LIBOR scandal and the publication of the report by the UK Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards [1], the event reflects on past and future developments in enhancing organisational culture in financial services. These include the use of behavioural methods to measure and manage culture (surveys, experiments, nudges), the creation and subsequent wind-down of the Financial Services Culture Board (FSCB), the Culture and Governance work by the Financial Conduct Authority, the proliferation of “Head of Culture” positions at UK large banks, and the embedding of values and purpose into the HR, audit, compliance, and risk management functions of banks. The panel will consider, what progress has been made? Which areas of culture have improved most, and least? What approaches have proved more successful?

A second panel will complement this discussion with a consideration of qualitative approaches to culture such as ethnography, and how these can complement cultural surveys and inform behavioural interventions. Ethnography, as well as online ethnography in remote work settings, can be used to challenge behavioural assumptions in central corporate units, modify behavioural prescriptions in line with actual practices, and guide the design of behavioural nudges. The second panel will include a discussion of the pioneering Change Ambassadors programme at the FSCB, a consideration of At-Home Ethnography methodology, and the use of ethnography by companies outside finance, especially user experience studies in the technology sector.

[1] For early debates on bank culture, see “Challenges and Opportunities in Reforming Bank Culture” and “Bank Culture and Financial Reform: What Works?

The event is in-person only and will adhere to the Chatham House Rule.

Event hashtag: #LSEFinServCulture





Opening remarks
Jean-Pierre Zigrand (LSE Finance Associate Professor and FMG/SRC Co-Director)
André Spicer (Executive Dean, Bayes Business School)
Daniel Beunza (Professor of Social Studies of Finance, Bayes Business School and SRC Research Associate)


Taking stock of behavioural efforts to improve bank culture

Moderator: Carol Franceschini (Senior Audit Manager for Behavioural Risk, Standard Chartered)


  • Peter Ewing (Technical Specialist, Financial Conduct Authority)
  • Alison Cottrell (Former CEO, Financial Services Culture Board)
  • Max Beilby (Senior VP, Culture & Behavioural Risk, Citi)
  • Hana Searson (Global Head of Culture & Behavioural Insights, Citi)

Coffee break


The use of ethnography to understand and improve culture

Moderator: Qamar Zaman (Partner and Chief Data Scientist, Stripe Partners)


  • Simon Roberts (Co-Founder and Partner, Stripe Partners)
  • Mats Alvesson (Professor of Organization Studies at University of Bath; also Lund University and Bayes Business School)
  • Kate Coombs (Former Head of Research, Financial Services Culture Board)
  • Daniel Beunza (Professor of Social Studies of Finance, Bayes Business School and SRC)
speakers at the New approaches to culture in financial services event

Speaker biographies

Mats Alvesson

Mats Alvesson is Professor of organization studies at the University of Bath, UK and is also affiliated with Lund University, Sweden, Stockholm School of Economics and Bayes School of Business, City, University of London. Research interests include critical theory, power, management of professional service (knowledge intensive) organizations, leadership, identity, organizational image, organizational culture and symbolism, qualitative methods and philosophy of science. Recent books include Reflexive Leadership (Sage 2017, with Martin Blom and Stefan Sveningsson), The Stupidity Paradox (Profile 2016, with André Spicer), Managerial Lives (Cambridge University Press 2016, with Stefan Sveningsson), The Triumph of Emptiness (Oxford University Press 2022) and Interpreting Interviews (Sage 2023). He is a fellow of the British Academy and the 2023 recipient of the Herbert Simon Award of the Rajk College for Advanced Studies. He is 2023-26 Hans Fischer senior fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies at Technical University of Munich.

Max Beilby

Max Beilby is a business psychologist, and is a Senior Vice President in Citi’s Culture & Behavioral Risk team. Max authors the blog Darwinian Business, which explores organisational behavior from a cultural-evolutionary perspective. Max is also a member of Ethical Systems’ Advisory Board.

Daniel Beunza

Daniel Beunza is Professor of Social Studies of Finance at Bayes Business School (formerly Cass). Beunza's research explores the ways in which social relations and technology shape financial value. Beunza obtained his PhD from New York University, and has previously taught at Columbia University, the London School of Economics and Copenhagen Business School. His research has been published in Organization Science, Organization Studies and Economy and Society. He has collaborated with the UK Financial Services Culture Board on the use of ethnography and grounded theory research to enhance professional standards in the UK’s financial sector. Beunza’s recent book, “Taking the Floor: Models, Morals and Management in a Wall Street Trading Room” (Princeton University Press) won the 2020 George Terry Award by the Academy of Management and the 2020 Best Book Award by the European Group on Organisation Studies (EGOS).

Kate Coombs

Kate Coombs is a consultant behavioural scientist and Managing Director of the Centre for Responsible Leadership at Imperial Business School. Her work primarily involves designing and testing empirically grounded behavioural interventions with organisations to improve their culture. Kate was formerly Head of Insights and a member of the Executive Committee at the Financial Services Culture Board (FSCB), an organisation dedicated to raising standards of behaviour and competence in financial services. Prior to joining the FSCB, Kate worked for the FCA’s behavioural economics and data science team, specialising in research relating to organisational behaviour.

Alison Cottrell

Alison Cottrell is the former CEO of the Financial Services Culture Board (FSCB), a non-statutory membership body that over the eight years to June 2023 worked with banks and other financial services firms across the UK to help them manage their organisational cultures. The FSCB provided boards and senior teams with comparative data and evidence-backed support and challenge, and facilitated the sharing of learning and good practice across the sector. Prior to setting up the FSCB, Alison worked in both the private and public sectors. She began her career as an economist in the City covering international fixed income and currency markets. She then joined HM Treasury, working on international and domestic issues before becoming Director of Financial Services – a policy role she combined for some years with that of Director of Corporate Services, focusing on the department’s own people and culture.

Peter Ewing

Peter Ewing is Technical Specialist at the Financial Conduct Authority. Peter started his financial career in life insurance, working in IT before moving to Marketing, and going on to lead work on Treating Customers Fairly. He moved to the FSA in 2009.  At the regulator, he has specialised in culture and governance, playing a leading role in the rollout of SM&CR. He is now a Technical Specialist in culture. Over the last two years, he has been closely involved with diversity and inclusion and was the FCA’s lead author for the Discussion Paper which the FCA, PRA and Bank of England jointly published in July 2021. Alongside this, he has been focusing on governance in the financial services industry and the role it plays in delivering positive outcomes.

Carol Franceschini

Carol Franceschini is Senior Audit Manager for Behavioural Risk in Standard Chartered Bank and visiting lecturer in Bayes Business School. Before SCB, she worked in the Financial Service Culture Board (FSCB) as senior behavioural scientist. She started her professional journey as investment banker in JP Morgan Chase, then co-founded a consulting firm in behavioural change in Brazil. She was also university professor in Reed College (Portland, USA), and the online MBA in Brazil’s Escola Superior the Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM). Carol holds a PhD and MSc in Experimental Psychology, MBA in Finance, and two bachelor’s degrees, in Economics and Psychology.

Simon Roberts

Simon Roberts is a leading business anthropologist whose consulting experience centres on product, business and organisational strategy. His expertise lies in researching the emerging frontiers of people and technology and landing that understanding with impact in complex organisations. Simon’s 20-year career has included founding the UK’s first dedicated ethnographic research company and running an innovation lab at Intel. He founded Stripe Partners, a research and strategy consultancy in 2013. He is currently Board President of EPIC People, a non-profit membership organisation, global community, and annual conference that supports the professional development, learning, and leadership of people who practice and promote ethnography. His book “The Power of Not Thinking: Why We Should Stop Thinking and Start Trusting Our Bodies” was shortlisted for The Business Book Awards 2021. Simon’s work has been covered by Bloomberg, the FT and BBC. He has an MA and PhD from The University of Edinburgh.

Hana Searson

Hana Searson is Global Head of Culture & Behavioural Insights for Citi, based in London. She leads the firm’s culture monitoring and assessment efforts and a team of applied behavioural scientists. She joined Citi in 2018 and previously held the role of Head of Talent, Learning & Diversity for EMEA. Before Citi, she was leading the talent, succession and leadership development strategy for Barclays as Group Head of Talent and Executive Development. Hana is an Organizational Psychologist and certified coach and holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Leicester, a Master of Philosophy in Gender and Women's Studies from Trinity College, Dublin, a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology and an MSc. in Organizational Psychology from Birkbeck, University of London.

Qamar Zaman

Qamar Zaman is a Partner and Chief Data Scientist at Stripe Partners. He has advised some of the world’s leading financial services and technology firms on questions around social connectedness, culture and behaviour. Before joining Stripe Partners, he was the Chief Economist and Head of Data and Behavioural Science at the Financial Services Culture Board. He began his consulting career at Oliver Wyman, and holds degrees from the University of Oxford, McGill and Lahore University of Management Sciences.


Alvesson, M., 2009. At-home ethnography: Struggling with closeness and closure. Organizational ethnography: Studying the complexities of everyday life, 46(2), pp.156-174.

Authority, F.C., 2018. Transforming culture in financial services. Discussion paper, DP18/2, March.

Beunza, D., 2019. Taking the floor: Models, morals, and management in a Wall Street trading room. Princeton University Press.

Cottrell, A (2018). "The UK Banking Standards Board: An outcome-based approach to assessing organisational culture". Journal of risk management in financial institutions (1752-8887), 11 (1), p. 47.

Macartney, H., 2019. The bank culture debate: ethics, values, and financialization in Anglo-America. Oxford University Press.

Financial Conduct Authority. 2018. Transforming Culture in Financial Services. Discussion Paper DP 18/2. Retrieved from:

Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, (2013). Changing banking for good HL Paper 27-I, HC 175-I. Retrieved from:…

The event is co-organised with Bayes Business School, City University of London.

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