Employees working in the financial services sector are 30% less trustworthy than colleagues in other sectors.
This is the finding of research from academics at the University of Cologne in Germany
The study took a number of business and economic students at the university and quizzed them on their career aspirations, social preferences and personality traits. It then measured the relative trustworthiness of the students.
After following up on the students' eventual career choices, the researchers found that those judged to be the least trustworthy typically ended up working in the financial industry.
Furthermore, the study also found that banks and other financial services firms made little effort to screen out less trustworthy candidates and even suggested that the opposite is the case.
"A well functioning financial market is of the utmost importance for social welfare, however, the industry struggles with widespread misconduct and corporate scandals which compromises its benefits for society," said Professor Matthias Heinz who conducted the study along with fellow professor Matthias Sutter.
"Our paper argues that this is a result of companies selecting candidates with little trustworthiness," added Heinz.
The study suggests that policy interventions are needed to change incentive structures and to attract more trustworthy candidates in the future.
The research comes in the wake of another scandal for the banking sector after leaked files from a US treasury department found that several of world's biggest banks continued to facilitate money laundering and illict proceeds even after the transactions were marked as potentially suspicious by their own compliance departments.