According to the latest public briefing from Greg Metcalf, “nobody is above the law”. The nation’s top corporate cop has put finance senior executives on notice to ensure efforts to improve culture and conduct do not become “white noise” for staff below them, saying the regulator will continue to uncover wrongdoings and is not intimidated by financial might.
This follows the release of the Australian Ethics Index, a survey of 1,000 Australians by the Governance Institute. The banking, finance and insurance industry emerged with the lowest score on the Institute’s index. The survey shows the damaging impact of financial scandals, some of which have recently hit the headlines. According to Mr Metcalf, ASIC plans to issue credible enforcements for any wrongdoings to send a strong message to industry and broadly to the public.
But the survey can also propose an opportunity for firms that are proponents of a positive culture. A clean image and customer centric approach can be great for branding at a time when public opinion on ethical conduct is poor. An effective culture around risk can also lead to innovations and enhanced performance.
Whether it be a regulatory or business driver that pushes your firm to address culture and conduct, it is an issue that is lasting beyond its five minutes of fame. Audit, Risk, Compliance and HR managers across the financial sector should be examining the impact of culture on their roles and their organisations. The benefits of incentivising good conduct and a healthy culture around risk go well beyond any regulatory compliance.
Criterion Conference’s Culture & Conduct in Financial Services, supported by the Banking & Finance Oath, will showcase the culture specialists within the likes of Macquarie, Colonial First State Investments, J.P. Morgan, ANZ and KODA Capital. 2016 is the year to invest in your knowledge and benchmark your practices on one of the hottest issues in finance.