Research Finds Greg Smith Has A Point: People Don’t Trust Financial Companies

By Tonya Garcia Comment

Coincidentally, Edelman has released some further detail from its Trust Barometer focused squarely on financial institutions. Given the drubbing that Goldman Sachs took today at the hands of Greg Smith, let’s take a closer look at the findings, shall we.

The Barometer found that 46 percent of respondents don’t trust financial services. And 41 percent don’t trust banks. This is up from 2011 when trust was only at 25 percent. This Goldman article might drive that number back down the toilet.

According to respondents (thousands of adults across 25 countries), among the traits that financial institutions must embody to regain trust are the ability to place clients ahead of profits (73 percent), listening to customers (74 percent), and having ethical business practices (76 percent).

Edelman suggests three things for financial companies to get back on track: talk with those who don’t trust the industry, including the media and social networks; find credible spokespeople (like Matt Damon?); and take action to address these issues.

So what has Goldman done so far? CEO Lloyd Blankfein said in an email that he’s not surprised that a company of Goldman’s size would have angry employees. Another email going around the company is a transcript of the speech Tom Cruise gave in the movie Jerry Maguire. And some wonder if the anonymous source who told DealJournal that Smith was not actually a big-time exec is a Goldman PR person, with more “leaks” coming to damage Smith’s credibility.

That’s one way to handle it.