Trust in Global Financial Institutions Still Low

Trust in the top 50 global financial institutions (FIs) remained negative in the third quarter of 2013, according to the news and social media sentiment analysis conducted by Thomson Reuters, but regional differences have widened since the second quarter.

According to the group’s Trust Index tracking the top 50, Q3 saw a continuation of several trends observed throughout 2013. They include a steady improvement in sentiment reflected in news and social media – essentially stable in Q3 – and continued confidence in analyst expectations for the sector; while the divergence between investors and analysts is still evident and Q3 was also marked by a proliferation – even acceleration – of regulatory activity.

“Our ongoing monitoring of key metrics on trust in the global financial industry reveals that at five years post-crisis FIs are stronger, more stable,” said David Craig, president, financial and risk, Thomson Reuters. “Whilst social media sentiment analysis shows trust is still negative for the quarter, for the first time since January, European financials have moved higher than US financials, reflecting recent mortgage scandals in the US and increasing confidence in UK and European institutions.” 

Tracking trust through news and social media sentiment revealed a media sentiment score of -1.5% for the Top 50 global FIs for the quarter, level with Q2’s -1.5%.  On a regional level, there continue to be subtle but important shifts. The institutions in Europe/UK saw modest Q3 improvement in trust sentiment from -1.5% to -1.0%, and are now on par with the Asian institutions which have led in trust scores for virtually all of 2013 (at -1.0% for both quarters). At -1.6% the institutions in North America were flat for the quarter, but had the lowest levels of confidence overall.

Thomson Reuters commented that movement in the trust sentiment scores over the quarter appears driven by a range of factors and events.

  • The August US Justice Department suit against Bank of America over mortgage fraud and record JP Morgan settlement in September most affected institutions in the Americas.
  • European Central Bank (EBC) signals that it would not allow money market rates to rise too high due to fears of US Federal Reserve rate rises and general positive sentiment about the privatisation of UK banks continued to support the increased trust in European banks. 
  • In Asia, ongoing concerns about the strength of the economy and shadow banking in China appear to have the greatest impact on overall trust sentiment for banks in the region.   

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