For those of you that follow my twitter feed ( or are member of the Financial Services Forum you will know that I participated in a fascinating debate last week on:

“Is restoring trust between consumers and financial services providers a lost cause?”

I was opposing the motion and Ian Hendersen of Totem was proposing. Whilst I won both the before and after votes, Ian managed to swing 20 or so votes in his favour, so the moral victory was his.

And the truth is he half got my vote.

The issue of trust is a complex one. Definitions are hard to come by despite it being a word that we all use regularly and from an emotional perspective understand – i.e. we can feel trust when we give it or recieve it. When you also ladder in working out the differences between trust and trustworthiness then it gets even harder.

Overall despite a healthy respect for the view that actually trust never existed in the first place (which Ian pushed quite hard) and we shouldn’t try and go back to a “golden age” of deference and blind faith I think this misses the point. Trust, at some basic level, is essential for the efficient operating of any market. We have seen what happens when trust disappears over the past 2 years. These are real effects which can’t be denied.

However I also agree that blind faith is a bad thing, and the internet enables a transparency that has moved us away from deference, which is a good thing (in my opinion). What I actually think is happening is that we are going through the painful recalibrating of our view of the trustworthiness of institutions such as the church, the government and businesses. Ultimately it is a good thing that we have an accurate view of how much trust to put in these people and institutions. I’d prefer to know that some priests are absuers, or some politicians are on the take, and some banks are build on bad business models. And sure this does mean we feel less secure and unsure of our society but would you prefer to stay in the Matrix or find a way out even if that means a harder but more real life? I know which I choose.

I’m going to be blogging about this a bit over the coming weeks so please feel free to comment and share your view.

Hope you are having a great week.


Published by

Justin Basini

Entrepreneur, author of Why Should Anyone Buy From YOU?, blogger (, business, brand and marketing thinker and do-er, husband and dad


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