Banking and Finance Oath
Wednesday 27 November, 2013
Trevor Rowe, Executive Chairman of Rothschild Australia, writes of the erosion of public faith in financial markets over the last decade. He attributes the tarnished reputation of the industry to a number of scandals and issues involving corruption, stressing the need for this to stop with the actions of individuals. This is the both the origin and the endgame of the Banking and Finance Oath – for every person in the industry to stand by values and ethics that protect and reward us all.
As someone who has had the pleasure and satisfaction of working in the finance industry for over several decades in Australia, I’ve seen revolutionary changes take place in terms of culture and ethics.
Over the last decade or so in particular, I’ve seen financial services be subjected to a number of scandals and/or issues related to corruption, which have tarnished the standing of financial services and eroded public faith in financial markets.
In the early 90s, I experienced a situation where one individual’s act caused reputational and indeed financial damage to an institution as a result of a lack of transparency and disclosure in the hierarchy. The unacceptable behaviour of this person resulted in the senior staff globally having to deal with the regulatory, government, client and employee challenges that such an act and resultant scandal caused for an institution of global reach. It was not a pleasant experience and required considerable attention by numerous people to restore the firm’s integrity.
In early 2010, I discovered that my concern over this trend of erosion of individual integrity, leadership and corporate culture was also shared by a group of other like-minded leaders in the industry. Among other things, we concluded that there is a perception that financial services institutions and individuals do not put client interests first. We also share the view that there is an issue of greater transparency, fairness and accountability required by institutions and the individual’s assets.
Consequently, I and my other colleagues felt strongly that it was necessary and timely for individuals to commit to the values that we all believe the majority of financial services institutions and the individuals stand for. Therefore, we created the Banking and Finance Oath to stand by values and ethics that we all aspire to.
Executive Chairman, Rothschild Australia