A Crisis of Culture Report Valuing ethics and knowledge in financial services

An Economist Intelligence Unit Report, Sponsored by CFA Institute

A Crisis of Culture report

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This report examines the role of integrity and knowledge in restoring culture in the financial services industry and in building a more resilient industry.

The financial services industry recognizes the importance of creating a resilient and pervasive culture based on ethics and mutual understandings.

A Crisis of Culture: Valuing Ethics and Knowledge in Financial Services was conducted to take the temperature as the financial services industry starts to emerge from the financial crisis. It shows that although executives overwhelmingly recognize the importance of ethical behavior in the industry, there is still a significant gap between that belief and the industry’s practices. The study also shows that while building a culture based on integrity and financial knowledge across firms helps mitigates risk and makes for a more resilient business, a silo culture remains pervasive and integrated functional and management approaches to risk-proof organizations remains weak.

The study concludes that within the industry there is strong evidence that sincere attempts are being made to change cultures. It still has a long way to go to create a finance industry where professional and organizational values truly align with those that serve client, shareholder and societal needs.

Executive Summary

A Crisis of Culture: Valuing Ethics and Knowledge in Financial Services

Key Findings


  • 91% of financial executives support the notion that aspiring to a globally recognized set of ethical standards would make the financial services industry more resilient
  • 53% of financial services executives say strictly adhering to ethical standards inhibits career progression at their firm

Financial Knowledge

  • 60% of financial executives highlight gaps in employees’ knowledge as a significant risk for their firm
  • 59% of financial executives agree improving knowledge of the industry as a whole would help make their firm more resilient

To access the complete results, download the full report.