UK Finance publishes updated guidance on banking ethics

UK Finance, the leading trade association for the UK banking and the financial services sector has published a new guide on ethics attached to banking and finance.

The new guide provides financial services firms, stakeholders and facilitators with a resource relating to workplace culture, conduct and ethics.

Stephen Jones, CEO of UK Finance, said:“Today, the role of business is under increasing scrutiny. As important as the profit and dividend that a company generates for its shareholders or members is the way in which these returns are generated on behalf of all stakeholders. Understanding the extent to which customers, work colleagues and the communities in which the business operates benefit or are negatively impacted by its performance is increasingly viewed as vital in measuring the impact of its activity. Good conduct, culture and ethical behaviours are at the core of sustainable, long term performance. Whilst relevant for all types of business, these factors are particularly critical for the healthy operation of businesses in banking and finance.

“This online resource is intended to help firms and individuals in banking and finance navigate the critical issues businesses face within their daily decision-making. The aim is not to duplicate, let alone interpret, underlying statute, regulatory and market expectations but instead to bring them together in a way that hopefully provides a useful oversight.”

The guide has been co-developed in partnership with law firm Linklaters, taking into account existing UK enterprise laws on corporate governance, transactional regulation, business requirements and further market-based dynamics which require guidance on ethical principles.

The new guide brings together key sources and reference documents from wider stakeholders connected with UK banking. Furthermore UK Finanance supports the document with a ‘profiling approach’ providing management with a standardised/broad framework on what constitutes ethics in fianance.

Julia Dixon, Partner at Linklaters, commented: “Operating according to ethical values, and being able to demonstrate how governance, strategy and decision making has been informed by ethical principles, is an issue which is squarely in the spotlight. Firms do not operate in a vacuum and their licence to operate depends on customers and stakeholders (including, importantly, regulators) being satisfied with their business approach. Building trust through an ethical framework and responsible business outlook is critical to sustainable success as well as to avoiding costly crises.”