19 November 2019

The next generation of ethics and trust in finance

Announcing the winner of the 7th edition of the Ethics & Trust in Finance Prize

In 2005, a small prize was launched in Geneva with the aim of encouraging high-quality management in banking and financial services. The Ethics & Trust in Finance Prize (originally known as The Ethics in Finance Robin Cosgrove Prize) is a bi-annual global, competition that looks to the next generation to offer ideas on how to achieve a higher level of ethics, integrity and trust across the financial sector.

Since 2006 the competition has prompted debate on topics ranging from the role of compliance officers, the challenges of managing cash, the contribution of micro-finance to economic development, and more recently, contactless payments.

Ethics and trust have always been a part of financial services; for better or worse. We trust in the strength of markets when performance is strong. We question the greed is good era of the 80’s (although at the time, many cheered it on). Since the financial crisis more than a decade ago, however, the ethics of the financial industry has been called into serious question.

In new research sponsored by the SWIFT Institute we’ve been looking in detail at the issue of diversity in financial services. As part of their soon-to-be published study, the University of Oxford’s Kristina Kämpfer and Dariusz Wójcik looked at the attractiveness and competitiveness of financial services as a prospective employer.

Kämpfer and Wójcik observe a major loss of trust in financial institutions and a loss of reputation of financial professionals as a consequence of the 2007 – 2009 financial crisis. Their findings show the industry is perceived as “stuffy” (and male dominated). More importantly (and worryingly), there is a general lack of understanding of the core function of finance and what our industry actually does.

The industry is working to improve its image, both at the individual institutional level and from an overall regulatory perspective. Just over a year ago, Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), delivered a speech to mark the launch of St Mary’s School of Business and Society (St Mary’s University). What topic was he asked to speak on? Ethics and trust.

Bailey explained that the financial crisis, and the subsequent revelations about serious problems with conduct across financial services, severely damaged any sense of trust the public had in the industry. He further explained that trust has a moral and ethical dimension, which involves commitment. To be trustworthy we have to meet our commitments to others. Trustworthiness requires two things – knowledge / skill (which is technical in nature) and good intentions / honesty (which is more about ethics and morality).

SWIFT and the SWIFT Institute are proud to be strategic partners for the 7th edition of the Ethics & Trust in Finance Prize, alongside Euroclear Group, the CFA Institute and the OECD.

At the recent Sibos conference in London, three of the 11 Prize finalists presented their ideas – Monika Swaczyna-Pruchnik, Colin Sweetman and Andrea Roncella. At last night’s Award Ceremony the winners of the 2019 Ethics & Trust in Finance Prize were announced at the OECD Conference Center in Paris. And the winner are…

Special Commendation

  • Andrea Bancone, Euroclear Bank, Brussels
  • The Moralization of Contracts: An Islamic Perspective

Second Prize

  • Mateusz Kucz, Maria Grzegorzewska University, Warsaw
  • How to Shape Moral Attitudes in Banking (the Polish example)

First Prize ex-aequo

  • Marta Rocchi, Irish Institute of Digital Business, Dublin
  • Technomoral Financial Agents: Ethics in the Fintech Era

First Prize ex-aequo

  • Andrea Roncella, PhD Student, University of Navarra, Pamplona
  • Luca Roncella, Boston Consulting Group, Madrid
  • Finance Needs Bilinguals Too

The essays of each of the above will soon be published on the Ethics & Trust website.

Congratulations to both winners, the runners up and all of this year’s finalists! You are the next generation of leaders for our industry. Based on what I’ve seen from you all, our future is in good hands.