Fairness and financial services in Australia and the United Kingdom

John (Steve) Worthington, James F Devlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose - There has been limited research into financial services customers perceptions of how fairly they are treated by financial services providers. Fairness as a concept has its theoretical roots in the theory of justice and equity and has been conceptualised as being made up of two distinct elements, procedural fairness and distributive fairness. Some scholars have further distinguished between procedural fairness and interactional fairness, and hence this research aims to measure all three of these fairness constructs and employ them in the analysis of the results. Design/methodology/approach - The Financial Services Research Forum (FSRF) in the United Kingdom (UK) has used constructs derived from theory to devise a benchmark measure: the Fairness Index. The index can be used to analyse trends through time and differences between sectors in the financial services industry. The FSRF has now collected seven waves of data investigating trends in consumers perceptions of fairness in financial services. The Fairness Index approach was replicated in Australia in early 2012 and responses were sought from 750 Australian consumers, with 250 respondents per sector, answering questions about their main bank, their credit card provider and their financial advisor. Findings - Australian financial advisors were found to have higher Fairness Index scores than banks and credit card providers across all the dimensions of fairness. Surprisingly, for banks, there was a pronounced negative relationship between customers fairness perceptions and length of relationship with the bank. In terms of what drives customers overall perceptions of fairness, it appears that distributive fairness is by far the dominant influence for all three types of providers investigated. Finally, comparisons are offered between the Fairness Index scores for both Australia and the UK, in the same time period. Originality/value - There has been limited research into financial services customers perceptions of how fairly they are treated by financial services providers. This study measures three fairness constructs - procedural fairness, distributive fairness and interactional fairness - and employs them in the analysis of the results. A benchmark measure, the Fairness Index, has been devised and used to investigate trends in consumers perceptions of fairness in financial services in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289 - 304
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Bank Marketing
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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