City launches 'integrity' lessons for wayward bankers

The 'Leading with Integrity,' foundation course has been launched to train leaders in the financial and business services industry. Should they need it?

by Gabriella Griffith
Last Updated: 01 Nov 2013
A gaggle of City-based institutions have clubbed together to launch a new foundation course titled ‘Leading with Integrity,’ to be offered to managers in the financial and business services industries.

Supported by the City Values Forum, the Institute for Leadership and Management and Cass Business School, the course aims to teach managers how to take ‘ethically sound and sustainable decisions at work.’ Well, someone had to...

But  should a bunch of highly-paid adults with responsibility for billions of pounds of other people's money really need a course to teach basic values?

Integrity was once a given in leaders. An attribute in the same school as ‘punctual’ and ‘rational’ – one would simply expect senior members of staff to naturally have integrity and to act on it. But it looks like integrity has fallen on hard times in the City and its institutions have felt the need to inject it back into managerial ranks.

‘This initiative is ideal for any organisation seeking to proactively establish a benchmark of ethical awareness and good practice across their business,’ explained chief executive of the Institute of Leadership and Management Charles Elvin.

‘It provides a framework for managers to recognise the key ethical considerations in a complex working environment.’

The course couldn’t come at a better time. It doesn't take a scientist to tell us that the reputation of the City and its financial institutions have taken a battering since the start of the financial crisis. But they're having a go anyway: the British Social Attitudes report, released earlier this month, showed just 19% of people think banks are well run, down from 90% in 1983. Scandals such as Libor rigging and the mis-selling of PPI have not only prompted huge fines for some of the City’s biggest firms but also damaged public opinions of them.

We’ll have to wait and see what the take-up is like for the course but with headlines littered with tales of misconduct among City financiers, perhaps it should become mandatory…

MT has some further suggestions for the trio of institutions should they wish to put on more courses.

1. How to spot if your brokers are fiddling with interbank lending rates.
2. Which forms of insurance you should and should not sell to your customers.
3. How to spot Mexican drug gangs laundering money and what to do with it.

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