According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, financial services is the least trusted industry in the world - losing even more trust during the pandemic.
Global public relations giant Edelman has been assessing the public trust in various sectors since 2012, using surveys and assigning percentage points based on trustworthiness.
Since 2012, financial services has consistently scored the lowest of any sector for trust. But, over the decade Edelman has been keeping score, the industry has managed to claw back eight points - perhaps reflecting the increased emphasis on ethics and regulation following the global financial crisis.
Just 44% of people trusted financial services in 2012, compared to 77% trusting technology and 64% trusting food and beverage companies.
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Over the years since, financial services managed to claw back some trust - hitting a high of 57% trustworthiness in 2019. But, in 2020 that dropped to 56% and in 2021 it has dropped again to 52%.
Despite gaining points over the years, financial services remain the least trusted industry. It is behind energy companies, which are trusted by 59% of people and entertainment companies (also 59%). Technology and healthcare are the most trusted sectors, with 68% and 66% public trust respectively.
The Edelman Trust Barometer surveyed 33,000 people in 28 countries between October and November 2020.
Edelman suggested the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted consumer trust of corporates. For example, chief executive credibility was assessed to be at an all time low of -4%.
The research also found that in light of the pandemic, people had higher expectations that chief executives and businesses should fill voids in need left by government (68%) and should hold themselves accountable to the public, not just shareholders (65%).