Recently, I was involved in some content on the overlap of ethics and technology for financial professionals. Afterwards, I was challenged (and rightfully so) on the relevance of the content to the “legal” code of ethics.
At the time, something didn't quite feel right to me about using the words in the code as the measure of compliance when it comes to ethical behaviour in cyber security, so I just sat with it for a couple of weeks because I couldn’t explain it adequately.
Then this week, I had a conversion with a fantastic and highly ethical advice professional who put it into perspective for me. We discussed cyber security from both “The Court of Law” standpoint and “The Court of Client Opinion.”
He said he wanted to start with “the court of client opinion” because he wouldn’t have a business to defend if he got that wrong. If he lost “the trust of his clients”, that would be the worst thing that could happen to him and his business. Losing the trust of his clients and reputation will happen well before he loses his licence to provide advice.
I am too often having conversations lately around what is legally required to operate a financial services business and the regulatory expectations. While definitely relevant, I think “client expectations” should drive the decisions to protect client data.
I have spoken to hundreds of advice professionals over 20 plus years, and every time I ask the question, 'Why do you love providing advice?', The answer is generally about helping people or making a difference in people's lives.
It’s clients we all care about!
It’s what drives us to push through the pain of running a financial firm, and it’s what drives us to show up when it’s easier not to.
I believe that every client in Australia should be able to trust that their financial professionals have safely secured their confidential information, and I hope you believe that too. I believe financial professionals do this for their clients, not just because the rules say so. This is the fundamental difference in how we should be making cyber security decisions.
So how do we do that? How do we protect every client in Australia?
The answer is we must all decide to act, make the decision to improve and make the decision to implement. The solution starts with a mindset shift in the minds of all client-facing humans, not just those in charge or running compliance. Cyber security is a team sport, and we must all play our part.
“Exactly what” you can do is the easy part, it is not as complicated or as expensive as you may think, so there are no excuses.
So there you have it, in making “ethical” technology and cyber security decisions, consider the “court of client opinion” as well as “the court of law.” The real value to your clients is when you act and implement, not just when you consider it a good idea.
Fraser Jack, founder, The Cyber Collective
Neil is the Deputy Editor of the wealth titles, including ifa and InvestorDaily.
Neil is also the host of the ifa show podcast.
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