A new framework for professionalism

  • 30 April 2020
  • Blog | Leadership & Strategy | Blog

Introducing the Institute’s new Corporate Chartered Framework – and the first bank to be recognised.

Having the opportunity to publicly recognise organisations investing in the professionalism of their people is an important benefit of the Institute’s new Royal Charter, awarded in November 2018.

To help organisations make the most of this opportunity and support the Institute in nurturing professionalism within the sector, it has recently launched its Corporate Chartered Framework. This is designed to work with an organisation’s own structure, learning and development (L&D) capability and appetite, to deliver a more structured approach to professionalism.

Individual and organisational professionalism

As well as helping the Institute achieve its strategic purpose of leading the re-professionalisation of UK banking, Corporate Chartered status creates a link between individual professionalism and organisational accreditation. For organisations, Corporate Chartered status is a mark of professionalism that customers, colleagues, regulators and stakeholders can use to inform their decision-making and engagement. It can also support and enhance board and regulatory reporting. Meanwhile, individuals benefit from a framework built on professional qualifications and membership, providing them with transferable, tangible recognition of their professional expertise and conduct.

Corporate Chartered status is open to organisations keen to enhance and publicise their approach to professionalism. The Institute operates a three-tier charging structure dependent on headcount to support organisations to achieve and maintain the award.

Is my organisation eligible?

In order to seek Corporate Chartered status, organisations must demonstrate three pillars: Professional Advocacy, Professional Values, and Professional Knowledge and Expertise. Underpinning those three pillars are 10 statements that define the Framework:


  • Senior leaders publicly support and endorse the value of professional qualifications, and maintenance of professional expertise and conduct, supported by professional body affiliation and membership
  • A key decision-maker (board, executive member or similar) actively supports and has responsibility for professionalism across the organisation
  • Chartered Bankers proudly advocate membership.


  • The organisation has a code of conduct aligned to the Institute’s Code of Professional Conduct
  • The organisation makes a commitment to use Corporate Chartered status, which recognises the importance of banking professionalism, in internal and external communications
  • Individuals demonstrate their professional values via commitment to a code of professional conduct and maintenance of professional expertise, supported by professional body affiliation and membership
  • Individuals and the organisation actively support progress towards and achievement of Chartered Banker status.


  • The organisation actively promotes the value of professional qualifications and maintenance of professional expertise supported by professional body affiliation, membership and continuing professional development
  • Individuals demonstrate their professional knowledge and expertise by gaining appropriate professional qualifications including those offered by the Chartered Banker Institute
  • At a senior and experienced level, individuals and the firm actively support routes to Chartered Banker.

How can my organisation achieve Corporate Chartered status?

Working alongside the Institute, there is a six-step process pathway for organisations to follow:


Based on the criteria, the Institute will run a diagnostic tool to assess where a firm is on its pathway to Corporate Chartered status. If firms meet the criteria, they progress to Step 4.


For firms not yet meeting the criteria, the Institute will work with the firm to develop an action plan. Once completed, it will be assessed by the Institute, which will confirm that the firm is ‘working towards’ Corporate Chartered status.


Regular, supported checks by the Institute's Relationship Management Team on progress with action planning.


There will be a two-stage assessment and verification process carried out within the Institute. The Institute's new Board of Trustees will be kept appraised of Corporate Chartered awards.


Firms working towards Corporate Chartered will be recognised in the following ways:

  • A certificate confirming a commitment to professionalism
  • Media coverage

Firms achieving Chartered status will be recognised in the following ways:

  • The Chartered Banker Institute’s mark (with accompanying rules of use)
  • A certificate presented by the Institute’s President at a high-profile event
  • Extensive media coverage.


Organisations will be awarded Corporate Chartered status for five years with annual and on-going reviews during that period to ensure that the criteria continue to be met.


RBS is the first organisation to be awarded Corporate Chartered status. Alison Houston, Head of Professional Career Development Programmes, RBS, tells us why that’s so important to the bank and how the process worked.

Q. What sparked your interest in the Corporate Chartered Framework?

A. Much of the work relating to professional standards is focused on individual capability – ensuring people working in banking have the right knowledge, skills and accountability for their roles. However, a key area that was highlighted in the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards was banking culture. It takes more than professional qualifications to drive a professional culture and Corporate Chartered recognises that.

Q. Which aspects of the Framework particularly resonated with RBS?

A. The alignment with professional values and advocacy was particularly important. RBS is the most professional UK bank in terms of the number of professionally qualified bankers we have. But in order to meet the Corporate Chartered benchmark, we had to show that we had board-level engagement and sponsorship, that our shared corporate values were aligned to professional standards and that we had processes in place to manage performance.

That’s important to ensure that our people have the right environment to work in and feel supported to always do the right thing for our customers. What is great about achieving Corporate Chartered is that it recognises publicly all the hard work that we’ve done to embed our values and ensure that they’re working in practice.

“Corporate Chartered status provides a benchmark for professional standards and helps financial services firms demonstrate the importance we place on offering great professional service to all our customers.”

Q. How did you find the pathway to achieving Corporate Chartered status?

A. The process itself is fairly straightforward. The Institute has defined the key systems and processes that an organisation must have to ensure professional standards are in place and then overlays this with some practical measures to ensure there is a culture of professionalism at all levels throughout the organisation. It was a useful toolkit to review our existing framework and check for any gaps. For anyone starting from scratch, the Framework details the practical measures required to build and embed a professional culture.

It was enlightening that the Framework recognises all the different professions in banking. Some of our professionals, e.g. accountants, lawyers, data analysts etc. will associate with the professional body relevant to their specialism and we need to recognise and support that. The Framework is designed to incorporate all of the work required to maintain professional standards in financial services, including engagement with other professional bodies as well as the Institute’s own qualifications and membership.

Q. What are the benefits for organisations and the industry as a whole?

A. As an industry that has been through some tough times, and still has a lot to do to restore customer trust, Corporate Chartered status provides a benchmark for professional standards, and helps financial services firms demonstrate the importance we place on offering great professional service to all our customers.

We need to continue to work together to raise industry standards and restore trust and I’d encourage other organisations to embrace Corporate Chartered status as a mark of industry professionalism.

To find out more about how your organisation could achieve Corporate Chartered status, visit https://www.charteredbanker.com/employers/corporate-chartered.html