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UK Finance launches online guide to ethics in banking

Source: UK Finance

‘Ethics in Banking and Finance’ – a new online guide launched by UK Finance, the trade body representing the banking and finance industry, in partnership with law firm Linklaters, provides firms and individuals operating in the sector with key reference points for governance, strategy and decision-making informed by ethical principles.

Navigating the ever-expanding landscape of rules, guidance, industry papers, speeches, supervisory practice and lessons learnt from enforcement notices is a complex task, but one that must be undertaken in order for firms to operate their businesses responsibly and successfully.

Designed principally for boards, non-executive directors (NEDs), and senior managers, this online guide provides a series of navigational aids for those working in and advising organisations in the UK banking and finance sector. It brings together key sources and reference documents, as well as profiling approaches that when taken together can be said to provide a broad framework for what constitutes ethics in banking. The guide is based around four key themes:
• Leadership, governance, systems and controls
• Employees
• Customers and conduct of business
• Stakeholders, including shareholders, regulators and the wider community

Commenting on the publication of ‘Ethics in Banking and Finance’, Stephen Jones, UK Finance CEO said:
“Today, the role of business is under increasing scrutiny. As important as the profit and dividend that a company generates for its shareholders or members is the way in which these returns are generated on behalf of all stakeholders. Understanding the extent to which customers, work colleagues and the communities in which the business operates benefit or are negatively impacted by its performance is increasingly viewed as vital in measuring the impact of its activity. Good conduct, culture and ethical behaviours are at the core of sustainable, long term performance. Whilst relevant for all types of business, these factors are particularly critical for the healthy operation of businesses in banking and finance.

“This online resource is intended to help firms and individuals in banking and finance navigate the critical issues businesses face within their daily decision-making. The aim is not to duplicate, let alone interpret, underlying statute, regulatory and market expectations but instead to bring them together in a way that hopefully provides a useful oversight.”

Julia Dixon, Financial Regulation Partner at Linklaters, comments:
“Operating according to ethical values, and being able to demonstrate how governance, strategy and decision making has been informed by ethical principles, is an issue which is squarely in the spotlight. Firms do not operate in a vacuum and their licence to operate depends on customers and stakeholders (including, importantly, regulators) being satisfied with their business approach. Building trust through an ethical framework and responsible business outlook is critical to sustainable success as well as to avoiding costly crises.”

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