The board of the Banking and Finance Oath (BFO) has called for financial advisers to adopt a common ethical foundation.
BFO director and outgoing CEO of ANZ Australia Phil Chronican suggested the industry needs to look beyond regulation and develop wide-reaching moral guidelines.
“While many people focus on the legislative and regulatory regime as the principal means to ensure the quality and character of financial advice, we believe something more needs to be done, which is why we support the need for a voluntary ethical framework to ensure the industry’s long-term viability,” he said.
“Beyond compliance, the BFO’s mission is to develop a strong ethical foundation – a support network that exists to encourage ethical accountability of the highest quality, and thus give the community good reason to look beyond the tainted image that tends to define the banking and finance industry as a result of poor behaviour by relatively few.”
BFO director and Ethics Centre executive director Simon Longstaff said the financial advice industry was divided on a number of issues but ethics could not be one of them.
“While there may be, and perhaps should be, competition around questions of core competency, accreditation systems, formal qualifications and the like, this should not apply at the level of ethics as the broader society has a reasonable right to expect one ethical standard that is common to all,” he said.
The BFO encourages individuals working in banking and finance to become signatories to its “oath”, a set of principles promoting trust, ethics and justice in the industry, according to the BFO website.
While signatory’s behaviour will not be actively monitored, breaches may result in the signatory’s conduct being reviewed in accordance with the group’s constitution, the website said.
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