Ethics or Bust: Beyond Compliance and Good Marketing


Clare Payne


1st edition (2006/2007)


Accountability / Compliance / Culture

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Australia’s national dictionary defines ethics as ‘a system of moral principles, by which human actions and proposals may be judged good or bad, or right or wrong’. Other definitions include concepts such as values relating to human conduct, principles of right conduct, rules or standards or a theory of moral values. Popular understandings of ethics are more likely to include such notions as trust, integrity, honesty, social responsibility and doing the right thing.

Whilst most of us have an understanding of what ethics is, and believe in the importance of ethical conduct in the cooperative functioning of society, difficulty is often met when determining agreed standards of ethical behaviour for the various complex situations in which individuals and organisations find themselves. It seems that society’s ethical ‘goal posts’ are constantly shifting and this presents particular challenges to the business world and the finance industry.

Broadly, the finance industry refers to organisations that deal with the management of money. More specifically, this includes banks, investment banks, insurance companies, credit card companies, stock brokerages, private equity and hedge funds.

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