UK City of London
A survey found that wealthy individuals in the UK are more satisfied with banks than ordinary consumersReuters

Britain's wealthiest individuals are the most happy of all with the products and services offered by their banks, according to a poll.

Business advisory group CEB surveyed 17,500 people across the globe on their perceptions of financial institutions, including 1,000 from the UK, and released its findings to IBTimes UK.

Of high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) in the UK with more than $100,000 (£59,801, €73,471) of capital free to invest, 44% said they were satisfied with the financial products and services on offer. That compares to just 32% of ordinary consumers in the mass market.

For the UK as a whole, 36% are satisfied with financial products and services, up from 21% in 2013 and against just 15% satisfaction for the world.

The biggest gripe for British consumers is over long-term savings products, which have a paltry 15% approval rating in the survey.

Returns have been depressed by ultra-low interest rates. The Bank of England has held its base rate at the record-low 0.5% since 2009 to keep credit costs down and support lending to consumers and businesses while the economy is weak.

"After the crisis of trust during the financial downturn – reflecting the uncertainty of a huge liquidity crunch – we're finally starting to see a slow but noticeable change in how people are feeling," said Peter Aykens, managing director at CEB.

"This uplift in sentiment is evident across all markets, including Europe. In spite of this, there's still a huge perception gap when it comes to honesty and the ability to follow through on promises.

"Traditional banks have been slow to respond to this trust crisis. This has fuelled a rapid rise of alternative finance providers and online advisory services."

Rising trust of banks in the UK may come as a surprise given myriad scandals surrounding the sector in recent years, including rate-fixing and the mis-selling of financial products to name just two.

The UK's Financial Ombudsman Service settled a record number of disputes between consumers and finance firms during the 2013/14 year.

According to the ombudsman's annual review, 518,778 disputes were solved – almost double the year before. That was from 2.3 million enquiries from consumers across the year, or 40,000 a week.

In order to rebuild the reputation of the financial sector, a new banking standards body with a code of conduct for financial professionals is being launched.

It will be called the Banking Standards Review Council (BSRC) and was suggested by Sir Richard Lambert, a former Bank of England monetary policymaker, in his review of how to enforce better behaviour. The review was commissioned by several of the UK's biggest banks.

Staff at members of the organisation must adhere to a code of practice and the firms must "commit to a programme of continuous improvement under the headings of culture, capability and customer outcomes", reporting annually on their progress.

But the professional organisation will be voluntary and the only reprimand for members who break the terms will be the "oxygen of publicity", said Lambert.