Our company launched in Australia in 2018, and in doing so, we came across the Banking and Finance Oath (The BFO). The Oath instantly resonated with us and the values were very much in line with those of our own organisation. At the very core of our philosophy is the goal of protecting our customers in their activities in financial markets. Given our shared values, we thought that as newcomers to the Australian financial services industry we could perhaps contribute to The BFO.
Digging deeper, however, what we discovered in dealing with The BFO was actually of tremendous value both to our own undertakings, and to me personally. With The BFO, we found a group of accomplished individuals that are mission driven and who are eager to help each other in the pursuit of a common goal. Through the organisation, I have met individuals from all facets of the financial services industry, from trustees to branch managers to risk officers, who all recognise the importance of their own roles and the impact that the industry has on society. Overwhelmingly, when you speak to these individuals, it quickly becomes apparent that they believe ethics must come before profits, and they all have a vision of the industry serving all clients in an ethical and responsible manner.
I find that quite motivating, and I believe that this attitude should be adopted by all financial institutions. As a company, we have been proactive in cultivating our connections, and there is no doubt that we are far more comfortable cooperating with, and recommending individuals, who we know have a strong moral compass and a sense of right and wrong.
Impressively, The BFO’s values are now being passed on and advocated by newcomers to the industry through the organisation’s Young Ambassador Program, which has been designed to encourage and support students and graduates to adopt a strong ethical mindset as they begin their careers in financial services. Those selected for the Young Ambassador Program are tasked with promoting the key values of the BFO within some of Australia’s most prominent financial institutions.
Personally, I have benefitted from learning about the stories and moral challenges of some of the members, and I would encourage anyone who believes in the importance of ethics within the financial services industry to reach out to members of the BFO and the Young Ambassadors Program and advocate their values within their own workplaces. To quote strategy consultant and best-selling author Shade´ Zahrai, who was a guest speaker at the 2019 Young Ambassador event: “Living a life aligned with our values is far easier than we think.”