01 Aug 14
Mark Rantall, CEO of the Financial Planning Association, reflects on his experience at a St. James Ethics course. He discusses the increasingly pertinent, yet seemingly brushed aside, “grey area” in ethical practice in the banking and finance industry. He stresses that when your profession is based on a foundation of trust, it is critical that you do everything to enshrine that trust, protect it and promote it. Taking the BFO is significant way to do this.
Watch two of Australia’s leaders in banking and finance, Mr. Simon McKeon AO (Chairman of AMP) and Mr. Steve Tucker (Executive Chairman of Westoz Investment Management), in a compelling discussion with Dr. Simon Longstaff AO (Executive Director of St James ethics Centre). They discuss critical moments in their careers where they came to an ethical crossroads, making decisions sometimes with ease and at other times testing their moral boundaries.
01 May 14
Dr Simon Longstaff
The Executive Director of St. James Ethics Centre, Dr. Simon Longstaff, ruminates on the origins of ethical shortcomings in the banking and finance industry. He suggests that the majority of wrongdoers are not usually avaricious and manipulative characters, but in fact moderately decent people who are engaging in practices they consider commonplace. This needs to change, starting with the recognition of ethical standards and the inter-personal accountability perpetuated by the BFO.
30 Apr 14
Pauline Vamos, ASFA Chief Executive Officer, acknowledges the responsibility of banking and finance professionals to make ethical decisions, particularly considering the asymmetry of information, knowledge and power in the practitioner/client relationship. She urges the industry to engage with this notion on a personal and conversational level, and start from the ground-up with the BFO.
Cris Parker, the newly appointed Executive of the BFO, introduces herself, outlines her role and discusses her hopes for the future of the BFO.
29 Apr 14
Stephen Dunne, BFO Chairman, reflects upon the dangers of finding short-term solutions to financial problems, or ones that deliver results for clients in the shortest time span, as these often hold ethical flaws, and come at the expense of long-term stability and trust. The BFO seeks to improve the ethical fabric of all market participants and thereby build a sustainable industry in the long-term.
Clare Payne, BFO Board Member and Consulting Fellow with St. James Ethics Centre, contemplates the question: who do you work for? She considers the banking and finance industry’s obligation to society at large. As an industry founded upon a social contract with trust at its core, it should ultimately be guided by this philosophy when ethical obligations may seem unclear.
05 Dec 13
With over 25 years of experience in financial services, Steve Tucker reminds us that the banking and finance industry looks after real people’s hopes and dreams and has a major influence on the wellbeing and security of individuals. In light of this, he stresses the need for trust at the heart of the profession. He writes that negative perceptions and distrust regarding the industry can, and should, be dispelled through each professional’s commitment to ethical practice and the BFO community.
02 Dec 13
Philip Chronican draws on over 30 years experience in banking to reflect upon the Global Financial Crisis, and how it exposed major flaws in the finance profession. He discusses the value of industry leaders taking the BFO, in that their message will filter down through the organisational hierarchy and influence individuals to commit to ethical behaviour.
29 Nov 13
Steve Harker, Managing Director and CEO for Morgan Stanley Australia, encourages all people involved in the banking and finance industry to become a signatory of the BFO, in order to reinforce the integrity of the profession as a whole. At the very least, he writes, it requires each person to think about every action undertaken in an ethical framework that will continue to strengthen over time.
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.
We are at a fork in the road as our society faces social and environmental challenges like climate change, mass-extinction, inequality and corruption that threaten to undermine the systems we have taken for granted for generations.While these issues are diverse and complex, a wealth of high-quality information exists which is devoted to solutions from a broad range of sources, indeed all the solutions for the challenges we face exist today.The finance and investment industry have a significant i...
Before I share some elements of this culture, it is worth pointing out that GetCapital is a young business - 4 years old and only 75 staff. We have had the benefit of building our business from scratch, with complete control over prioritizing company objectives, establishing corporate values and developing a unique culture. Clearly, most financial service companies don’t have the same degree of flexibility and are weighed down by size, legacy and a diverse set of stakeholders with competing interests.
An executive high-flyer who spent her first years on the poverty-stricken streets of Manila has told how she walked away from corporate life - as she felt like a fraud.
According to the Harvard Business Review, English is now the global language of business. English is declared the working language of the World Bank, The European Central Bank, (based in Frankfurt, Germany) and AXA (the French multinational insurance firm headquartered in Paris).
It is impossible to legislate or regulate to completely eliminate either poor or criminal behaviour in society. Ultimately it comes down to the individual and one’s own ethics and integrity.
It may seem outdated to refer to the GFC but it seems at least, some of the issues remain. After the GFC it was believed the industries’ deficiencies could only be corrected by increased regulation and surveillance. However, there were opinions at the time that ethical failure had played a part in the crisis, rather than a lack of regulation.
As a lawyer that also studied journalism at University I’ve always had a thing for words. Perhaps it is no surprise that I am now a Director of The Banking and Finance Oath, a Hippocratic-type oath for the finance sector that through the careful selection of words promotes ethical principles.
When I first heard of Warrant Buffet and his ‘Value Investing’ I felt enlivened, until I realised it has nothing to do with values - as in principles or value to society – and instead is about buying stocks that are under-priced.
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