2013

A Crisis of Culture

Valuing Ethics and Knowledge in Financial Services

This survey report examines the role of integrity and knowledge in restoring a culture of trust in the financial services industry. It was conducted as the financial services industry emerged from the 2008 financial crisis.


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

View the report (PDF)

This report, sponsored by CFA Institute, is based on an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey of senior managers carried out September 2013. The 382 respondents are split regionally: Europe (42%), Asia-Pacific (34%), North America (20%).

All respondents are from the financial services industry; one-half are C-suite executives, and the rest are senior executives and managers. The EIU also surveyed 50 executives from firms supporting the financial services industry across a number of areas including technology, marketing and business processes.

The report 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.

Key Findings

Ethics

  • 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 resilien

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