The purpose-driven organisation The Banking and Finance Oath (The BFO) has announced a merger with The Ethics Centre, signifying a major step forward in expanding and enriching conversations within the banking and finance industries on ethical issues.
The BFO has always enjoyed a close association with The Ethics Centre, with its executive director Simon Longstaff playing a key role in initiating and drafting the Oath. The Ethics Centre is also the sole institutional member of The Banking and Finance Oath Ltd, which administers the Oath*.
The merger is designed to build on the momentum already generated by senior leaders, especially with the industry’s younger generation through universities and induction programs in the financial services industry.
Under the new arrangements, The BFO will become a distinct program of The Ethics Centre under the management of Ms Cris Parker, Head of the Ethics Alliance and a Director of The BFO Ltd, with support from Ms Jodi O’Callaghan, who will transfer to The Ethics Centre after serving as The BFO Ltd’s Executive Officer.
The BFO program will continue to be funded by signatories and with specific contributions from financial institutions. These funds will be reserved for the support of BFO activities.
The BFO will retain its identity – including its website – both of which are important elements underpinning the transparency of individual commitments to The BFO.
As a result of this change, The Banking and Finance Oath Ltd will be deregistered – with former Directors being available to support The BFO in an advisory capacity.
Dr John Laker, outgoing Chair of the Banking and Finance Oath Ltd., said: “The transfer of The BFO into The Ethics Centre will locate The BFO initiative squarely within its ‘spiritual home’, with clear benefits to both parties. The BFO has been gaining traction, and our Board believes that joining forces with The Ethics Centre, as the industry continues to rebuild community trust, makes good sense. Both organisations will be more effective as one than as two.”
Dr Longstaff said: “The BFO was born out of the dark days of the GFC and the need to affirm the ethical foundations on which people working in banking and finance ultimately stand. It reminds us that, at its best, banking and finance can be a noble calling. The Ethics Centre welcomes the opportunity to work with a new generation of ethical leaders ready to build on the legacy of those who launched and nurtured this inspiring initiative.”
The new arrangements came into effect from 1 March this year.
Background: About The Banking and Finance Oath
The Banking and Finance Oath (The BFO) is a unique, independent organisation whose purpose is to improve our society by raising the moral and ethical standards of the banking and finance industry through the implementation of the Oath. The BFO was incubated at The Ethics Centre as an industry-led initiative and launched online in 2013.
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:
- 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. 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.
*The Banking and Finance Oath – thebfo.org
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.
About The Ethics Centre
The Ethics Centre is a not-for-profit organisation developing and delivering innovative programs, services and experiences, designed to bring ethics to the centre of everyday life. The Centre brings people together, creates space for open and honest conversations, and builds the skills and capacity of people to live and act according to their values.
For more information, please contact Jodi O’Callaghan at firstname.lastname@example.org