Central Rating Index for Ethics and Trust in Finance


Colin Sweetman


7th edition (2019/2018)


Ethics / Rating / Sustainability

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It is both worrying and reassuring that young people working in finance are encouraged to write about ethics and trust in finance today – “worrying” because it means there is a systemic issue, but “reassuring” because action is being taken to improve the situation. What is even more reassuring is that young people are not obliged to write about this topic but rather encouraged to – this point is central to this essay. Ethics must be guided by one’s own understanding and urge to do the right thing. It is practised as a set of cultural circumstances and cannot be rigidly imposed as a set of rules or regulations but should rather be debated and constantly challenged, with ideals changed positively.

In Ideas and Opinions, one of the greatest moral philosophers of the twentieth century wrote: “A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary” (Einstein, 2010). In a financial context, the “religious basis” can be taken as the fear of retribution and hope of reward for acting ethically. This should not be the driving force for ethics because people tend to find loopholes and use this as a measure for behaving ethically when they are instead merely acting in accordance with a set of rules.  

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