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New open banking trustee declares “no scope for complacency” in the OBIE’s future after bullying scandal

Charlotte Crosswell arrives with a hard line against the organisation’s past failings.

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Charlotte Crosswell/OBIE.

Incoming open banking trustee and chair Charlotte Crosswell on Friday spoke out to “sincerely apologise” in the wake of the bullying scandal which has engulfed the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) and led to the resignation of Imran Gulamhuseinwala.

Crosswell struck a humble tone that the OBIE would be “committed to turning these learnings into effective and meaningful change” under her leadership.

The scandal was triggered by allegations of bullying filed in a complaint last year, which led to an independent investigation led by OBIE non-executive director Alison White.

Earlier this month, the investigation findings were published, which found that the organisation’s leadership had “allowed a culture of bullying and intimidation to prevail”.

Addressing the investigation, Crosswell said: “The observations and findings of Ms White mean that there is absolutely no scope for complacency.” 

“Under my leadership, we will commit to working to ensure that there is no repetition of any failings and inadequacies, historical or otherwise. Simply put, what happened was unacceptable and can’t happen again.”

As we explored in our profile of Crosswell last week, the new chair and trustee joins the OBIE at a precarious time—not just because of the investigation but also as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is still deciding what part it will play in the future of open banking.

The OBIE says that Crosswell has been charged with “leading the planned transition to the future arrangements for open banking”—yet those future arrangements are still undecided.

Crosswell went on to note the uncertainty for the OBIE and the broader open banking sector, saying:

“With the CMA soon to announce next steps towards the model for the future governance of open banking we are at a key inflection point, and I hope this will give us greater clarity and enable us to implement fully the kind of leadership, governance and structure, alongside a supportive, diverse and inclusive culture, that is vital for a progressive and permanent organisation.”

Many are hoping that the CMA’s consultation will result in the OBIE leading the charge towards open finance and beyond; however that decision is far from certain.

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