The Banking and Financial Services Oath (BFSO) is a unique initiative that seeks to strengthen the ethical standards of financial services through the empowerment of individuals making a personal commitment of integrity.
This commitment guides ethical behaviour, encourages individuals to hold themselves to account and creates a supportive environment. BFSO produces regular content to promote ethical discussions, provides opportunities for Oath takers to connect, and has a dynamic Young Ambassador program to support and grow the capabilities of early career professionals.
We support decision-making that aspires above the law, because poor choices can have harmful and costly consequences. Our research shows that ethical failings have resulted in an estimated $2.4bn in compliance costs, fines and customer remediation (The Ethical Advantage, Deloitte Access Economics, 2020)
BFSO has had more than 6000+ individuals taking the Oath since its inception, including the CEOs and Chairs of Australia’s leading financial institutions.
Rebuilding the industry’s reputation and public trust starts with the individual. This is the strength of the Oath.
The BFSO was founded on a shared belief in the inherent good of the financial services industry. In response to the Global Financial Crisis and concerns about the impact of misconduct and other scandals on the reputation of banks globally, a number of leaders of the financial services industry in Australia came together to discuss the moral and ethical focus of the industry and had a range of ideas on how trust and confidence in the industry could be enhanced, and in some sectors restored.
Under the auspices of The Ethics Centre, a report was produced and those industry leaders voted on the initiatives they wished to see established. As a consequence, the Banking and Finance Ethics Panel was formed in 2010 with representatives from Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Rothschild, Morgan Stanley, AMP Capital, MLC and Westpac.
View this short film where industry leaders talk more about the importance of ethics, integrity and trust.
The Banking and Finance Oath was the founding initiative of that Panel. The Oath was aimed at building trust and confidence in the financial services industry by re-asserting the moral and ethical foundation of the industry, in a way that transcended regulation, compliance and any professional standards, and by broadening expectations and discussion to include ethics, integrity, honesty and trust. Dr Simon Longstaff, Executive Director, The Ethics Centre, drafted the Oath after discussions with the members of the Panel. The views of each panel member were sought with the final wording agreed upon in February 2011.
The BFO was launched in 2013 as an industry-led initiative. On 1 March 2021 The BFO merged with The Ethics Centre so as to expand and enrich conversations within the banking and finance industry on ethical issues.
On 1 August 2023, The BFO became the Banking & Financial Services Oath (BFSO).
The Banking and Finance Ethics Panel of 2010 comprised:
- Stephen Fitzgerald, formerly Chief Executive Officer, Goldman Sachs
- Steven Harker, Chief Executive & Managing Director, Morgan Stanley
- Stephen Dunne, Managing Director, AMP Capital
- David Cohen, Group General Counsel, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
- Trevor Rowe AO, Executive Chairman, Rothschild Australia
- Steve Tucker, Chief Executive Officer, MLC
- David Bell, formerly Group General Counsel, Westpac Banking Corporation
- Dr Simon Longstaff, Executive Director, The Ethics Centre
- Clare Payne, Consulting Fellow, The Ethics Centre and former Director of the Integrity Office of Macquarie Bank
- Amanda McCluskey, Senior Investment Manager and Co-Head of Sustainable Funds, First State Stewart Asia Pacific , Singapore