The Board of The Banking and Finance Oath (The BFO) welcomes Commissioner Hayneâ€™s focus on honesty and individual accountability in the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
Royal Commission highlights importance of individual accountability
The Board of The Banking and Finance Oath (The BFO) welcomes Commissioner Hayne’s focus on honesty and individual accountability in the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
In the Report, Commissioner Hayne emphasises the need for institutions and staff in the financial services industry to have a clear understanding “of what is ethical, of what is efficient, honest and fair, of what is the 'right' thing to do”. These are the values that underpin the Oath.
The Oath is an initiative of industry leaders, begun in 2012 in affiliation with The Ethics Centre, that is designed to strengthen the ethical foundation of the financial services industry by encouraging self-reflection and ethical decision-making. The Oath contains a set of commitments that individuals can freely adopt and apply as personal principles in their work – principles that complement and reinforce the norms of conduct highlighted by Commissioner Hayne.
The Final Report acknowledges the role of industry codes of ethics in fostering public confidence and practitioner integrity, and makes recommendations to strengthen their enforceability. The Oath is not an industry code – it is a personal commitment with moral but not legal force – but it sits readily alongside industry codes that set out norms of ethical behaviour expected of participants.
The BFO will prioritise its discussions with institutions and industry bodies on strengthening the ethical foundations of the financial services industry and, in particular, on promoting greater professionalism in the industry. The BFO provides an obvious focal point for the ethics component of any professional accreditation initiatives.
The BFO Chairman, Dr John Laker, says “The Final Report is a clarion call to the financial services industry to prioritise ethical decision-making and individual accountability in its dealings with the Australian community. This is the time for individuals committed to the good of the industry to reflect on what they want to stand for and take responsibility for their own behaviour. We know the right culture – one built on ethics, honesty and accountability – allows the right behaviour to thrive.”
A growing number of industry professionals at all levels – executives, middle managers and other staff – have expressed their commitment to the industry by signing the Oath. Others who wish to put ethics at the forefront of driving change in the industry are encouraged to join them. The Royal Commission has created a tipping point for the financial services industry, and if ever there was a time to take the Oath, it is now.
Anyone who would like to become a signatory to The BFO can find out more at www.thebfo.org
The Vision of The BFO is “A banking and finance industry that meets the community’s needs and has its full confidence, thereby fulfilling its integral role in society.”
The BFO has two clear aims:
THE BANKING AND FINANCE OATH
to encourage a strong ethical framework for individuals in our financial services industry. The values of integrity, honesty and trust must underpin the industry’s dealings with the Australian community - these values clearly need to be strengthened. The BFO is uniquely targeted at the behaviour of the individual and, building on that behaviour, can help to shape a positive culture within institutions themselves; and
to provide a public platform on which signatories have the opportunity to demonstrate their integrity and in turn their commitment to the industry. An oath needs to be public, ideally taken publicly but also visible beyond the act. This transparency encourages peer-to-peer accountability and allows the signatory to be held to account by all stakeholders.
Trust is the foundation of my profession
I will serve all interests in good faith
I will compete with honour
I will pursue my ends with ethical restraint
I will help create a sustainable future
I will help create a more just society
I will speak out against wrongdoing and support others who do the same
I will accept responsibility for my actions
In these and all other matters; My word is my bond.
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