Articles & Dilemmas
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Articles & Dilemmas


Good copyright governance in banking and finance

14 Jul 17
by Lisa Hill, Senior Licensing Consultant, Copyright Agency
Copies of newspaper articles, magazine articles, journal articles, reports, books and graphs directly benefit thousands of organisations in Australia, who use them to influence, be strategic in decision-making and achieve corporate objectives. Good Copyright Governance is ensuring that the creators of these pieces are being recognised and compensated fairly for their work.

The Business Case: The long road to proving ethics pays

17 May 17
by Clare Payne, Director The Banking and Financial Services Oath
A business case that ignores social issues is no case at all. The business case has not traditionally included the ethical rationale or the moral justification. Fortunately, making the business case for ethics is getting easier.

The Ethical Beginnings of Compliance

17 May 17
by Naomi Burley, Managing Director, GRCI
Factors such as complexity and sophistication of products and services, distribution channels, customer demands and unprecedented advances in technology have resulted in increased political and regulatory intervention into business. GRC professionals are at the forefront of these changes and can contribute as a culture change agent.

Naomi Burley, MD GRC Institute has a look at how compliance and an Oath can go hand in hand.

Raising the level of maturity in banking and finance – An introduction to the Maturity Institute

09 May 17
by Paul Kearns, Chair The Maturity Institute
While working their Banking Governance & Culture Project, the Maturity Institute in the UK came accross National Australia Bank (NAB) and in turn The Banking and Financial Services Oath.

Renaissance of the Effective Professional

20 Dec 16
by Tim Gorst

Tim Gorst, Actuary and BFSO Signatory, tells us about the increasing focus on risk culture in financial services and the role of the effective professional.

Snowflakes amongst the permafrost

29 Nov 16
by Clare Payne, Director The Banking and Financial Services Oath
What role do middle=management play in creating ethical work cultures?

People often view human behaviour in one of two ways. They either see humans as motivated, almost purely, by self-interest or they believe we are inherently humane creatures, concerned for others.
The world abounds with examples of the former (self-interest), particularly in the business world and even more so in banking and finance. I remain hopeful however that more of us operate according to the latter.

Bad People or Bad Decisions?

20 Oct 16
by Clare Payne, Director The Banking and Financial Services Oath
A look at how we can make better decisions, more of the time
It’s not uncommon for adults to reflect back on their teenage years and wonder, ‘What was I thinking?’ There may be particular decisions you made that make you question what type of person you were and why you did what you did. The answer for some will be peer group pressure – which is particularly intense in our formative years. But what excuse do we have as adults for poor decisions? The answer is – many!

Recovering from ethical failure

24 Aug 16
by Dennis Gentilin, Centre for Ethical Leadership
How does an organisation recover and rebuild from ethical failure? What do you do when you have failed your ethical duties as an organisation, and significantly compromised trust with your stakeholders? These are difficult times for any organisation. The good news is, I do believe that organisations can emerge from ethical failure stronger than what they were prior to the incident.

Limited Language - Blind Spots

30 Jul 16
by Clare Payne, Director The Banking and Financial Services Oath
How the language we use at work can undermine the very cultures we wish to create.

As the banking and finance industry is increasingly held to account by the public, and regulators attempt to grapple with how to best manage risk, the consideration of the role of language in both creating and undermining ethical work cultures is essential.

Entrepreneurial talent is not the prerogative of the wealthy

23 May 16
by Jessica Ellerm, Partner Development Manager, Tyro Payments and active fin tech blogger.
Today, starting a business often requires getting a loan. Yet more often than not, getting a loan requires some form of collateral as security. As traditional types of security like the family home become further out of reach for the incoming generation of entrepreneurs, how will our traditional approach to lending need to change?

Integrity - the fundamental pillar of business culture

23 May 16
by Professor David R. Gallagher, CEO Centre for International Finance and Regulation
Do companies exist solely to advance the interests of their shareholders, or do they have a broader social obligation? Professor David R Gallagher recognises that this question has been debated since the advent of the limited liability company in the seventeenth century and explores why a question that previously remained largely confined within a scholarly domain has recently become an issue of mainstream social concern.

The Banking and Financial Services Oath should not be necessary

23 May 16
by Trent Moy, Senior Consultant, The Ethics Centre and Director of Halide Pty Ltd
Ironically, it seems like one of the ethical issues faced by people in the banking and finance industry is whether or not to take The Banking and Financial Services Oath (BFO). Trent identifies two central dilemmas. Firstly, that the Oath is taken with the right motivation or intent; and secondly, whether or not The BFSO will actually have a positive effect – on the individual and on the wider industry.

What's in a word?

21 Apr 15
by Clare Payne
Some may ask how much one’s word is really worth. When some look at The Banking and Financial Services Oath and critique the initiative, they ask, ‘Can it really do anything?’ It’s just words after all.

STOP THE PRESS: Lawyer gives ethical assistance to bankers

06 Dec 14
by Nicolette Bearup
Barrister Nicolette Bearup writes of the need for the finance industry to rebuild trust particularly in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, through ethical leadership that brings about real cultural change. She explores the potential of the Banking and Financial Services Oath and considers whether anything might be learned from current practice in the legal profession.

The Coveted Yellow Jersey

29 Nov 14
by Clare Payne
Clare Payne, Board Member of The BFSO and Consulting Fellow with St James Ethics Centre, asserts the significance of The BFSO in working towards a self-regulating, ethically conscious industry. She writes of the need to recognise that ethics and banking are not incongruous terms and should never be considered in common discourse. In light of this, Clare encourages signatories to use The BFSO as an opportunity to spark that conversation.

The BFSO is the first step in a long journey

04 Nov 14
by Dennis Gentilin
Dennis Gentilin laments the paradigm shift over the past thirty years within the banking and finance industry; from a humble and highly respected profession to a selfish and often greedy moneymaking pursuit. To rectify this cultural malaise, he encourages taking The Banking and Financial Services Oath as a first step, and to live by its principles throughout one’s professional life.

A Personal Commitment

28 Aug 14
by Cris Parker
We have produced a video to increase the awareness of The BFSO within the industry and the community at large and hope that you will share it with colleagues and friends.

‘I will speak out against wrongdoing and support others who do the same’

01 Aug 14
by Louise Drolz
Louise Drolz, Principal at Remedy Financial, speaks of a personal situation in which she has followed The BFSO: “I will speak out against wrongdoing and support others who do the same”. She has followed through on this action with pride and strength despite it being a difficult decision, and emphasises that there is no “unless it’s to my detriment” addendum.

Need help in starting a conversation about an ethical issue?

01 Aug 14
by Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert, the Ethi-call Coordinator, writes of the temptation to take the easy way out when faced with a difficult ethical dilemma. In such situations, she suggests the service offered by Ethi-call, a free and confidential ethics counselling service facilitated by St James Ethics Centre. On behalf of Ethi-call, Kathleen supports The BFSO in providing useful guidance to individuals who might be struggling with an ethical dilemma.

Trust is the foundation of my profession.

01 Aug 14
by Mark Rantall
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 BFSO is significant way to do this.

ON FILM: Finance leaders discuss the difficulties of making the right choices

22 Jul 14
by The BFSO
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.

Skepticism vs Cynicism - the battle of reputation

01 May 14
by 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 BFSO.

FOFA: An ethical debate

30 Apr 14
by Pauline Vamos
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 BFSO.

New BFSO appointment: Executive Cris Parker

29 Apr 14
by Cris Parker
Cris Parker, the newly appointed Executive of The BFSO, introduces herself, outlines her role and discusses her hopes for the future of The BFSO.

Short-termism and ethics

29 Apr 14
by Stephen Dunne
Stephen Dunne, BFSO 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 BFSO seeks to improve the ethical fabric of all market participants and thereby build a sustainable industry in the long-term.

Who do you work for?

29 Apr 14
by Clare Payne
Clare Payne, BFSO 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.

Why I joined The BFSO - it's a matter of trust

05 Dec 13
by Steve Tucker
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 BFSO community.

Is ethics a different ballgame for leaders?

02 Dec 13
by Philip Chronican
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 BFSO, in that their message will filter down through the organisational hierarchy and influence individuals to commit to ethical behaviour.

Joining The BFSO

29 Nov 13
by Steve Harker
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 BFSO, 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.

Banking and Financial Services Oath

27 Nov 13
by Trevor Rowe
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 Financial Services Oath – for every person in the industry to stand by values and ethics that protect and reward us all.
Total 218 articles in this section.
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The Oath

  • 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.