Report Summary

A crisis of culture: Valuing ethics and knowledge in financial services is an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report, sponsored by CFA Institute. It examines the role of integrity and knowledge in restoring culture in the financial services industry and in building a more resilient industry.

Why read this report

  • Industry executives champion the importance of ethical conduct, but they struggle to see the benefits of greater adherence to ethical standards. While large majorities agree that ethical conduct is just as important as financial success at their firm, 53% also say that strict adherence to such codes would make career progression difficult.
  • Most firms have attempted to improve adherence to ethical standards. Global institutions, from Barclays to Goldman Sachs, have launched high-profile programmes that emphasise client care and ethical behaviour. Our survey found that nearly all firms have taken steps to improve adherence to ethical standards.
  • To become more resilient, financial services need to address knowledge gaps. Three-fifths think gaps in employees' knowledge pose a significant risk to their firm. Nonetheless, a lack of understanding between departments continues to be the norm: 62% say that most employees do not know what happening in other departments.
  • A number of firms, including ones interviewed for this report, are already bringing together different functions to vet big, important decisions concerning the firm's future and to ensure a coherent culture and approach to risk. The challenge for firms is to form partnerships between functions to ensure that the firm is run by experts in everything it does.
In many cases there is no such a thing as a single culture within a bank


Published:November 25th 2013

Michael Kapoor
Sara Mosavi

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