Ethical Professionalism a Broken Banking Promise

Ethical Professionalism a Broken Banking Promise

Ethical Professionalism

The concept of Ethical Professionalism isn’t new. The idea was to protect the UK public from greedy and predatory behaviour by financiers. In fact, The City made the commitment over a decade ago.

Such excesses may be trotted out in the press and TV with monotonous regularity, for example:

ping: You don’t deserve your fat bonuses for failure!

pong: If we don’t pay ‘em, the talent will leave

ping: Who needs ’em?

pong: We do – Finance and Banking are incredibly important to the UK Economy

ping: Finance and Banking were, maybe still are, unethical, opportunistic and greedy

pong: We’re changing

ping: You guys brought the house down fifteen years ago and we’re still paying

pong: We admitted we need better self, internal and management control … a more ethical and expert approach

ping: So what have you done about it?

pong: implemented Ethical Professionalism

ping: ***!!!??. You’re taking your time

pong: These things take time

ping: Citizens are watching you

Yeah Yeah  YEAH!

What a wondrous and transformational promise Ethical Professionalism was to provide significant thought leadership in support of lasting economic recovery for the UK.

Just how well did the laudable concept of Ethical Professionalism make the progression from policies, procedural manuals and training courses into the hearts and minds of bankers and financiers? Does anyone in The Establishment care?

Making it happen

By their own admission, the Financial and Banking sector confirmed a lack of ethical thinking and behaviour;  some might suggest criminality. In fairness, twelve years ago, we saw The City hold up a collective hand and make promises to change their malpractices forever.

Ethical Professionalism was an important idea that deserved a chance. To test the words, I recently shared the phrase and its background with an expert manager I know. His fruity expletives and cynical laughter still ring in my ears. Such an energetic and cynical response emphasized the awful scale of the craggy mountain the sincere directors and executives proposed to climb; its icy transformational challenge akin to the Eiger’s north face. Perhaps they knew that their piety and oaths would never be tested on this side of the grave.

What could go wrong?

A million keyboards start to click–okay, loads. With the best of intent and so many big names on the bandwagon, I’d prefer to think about what might have gone right.

Doubtless, with banners high, top leaders planned to drive Ethical Professionalism through their corporations and be living exemplars of the values they espoused. Where is the evidence they ever walked the talk? Please share it if you know.

I want to cry.

© Mac Logan

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