Talk about corporate social responsibility to someone in finance and they may respond with discussions of offsetting CO2 emissions or sponsoring projects in Africa. But for an industry that played the star role in a financial crisis that almost undid the fabric of modern society, social responsibility should mean a lot more says George Möller, chairman of Dutch regulator AFM.
Möller, the former chief executive of asset
management firm Robeco, is on a mission to change the
perception of the finance industry and introduce the concept of
financial ethics. He thinks that lessons have not been learned
from the financial crisis and rulemaking alone will not prevent
For a sector that almost brought capitalist society
to its knees, the continued absence of a focus on codes of
social and corporate ethics is astounding. The public outrage
over bonus payments in the wake of the financial crisis was met
with defiance by the banking sector and a number of leading
thinkers, including the economist Joseph Stiglitz have accused
the financial sector of being in denial over the need for
Over the next decade, the finance industry faces a
PR battle as great as its battle to regain stability. Yet
Möller believes that many in the industry remain
blasé about the importance of financial ethics not just
to avoid another financial crisis but as part of the recovery
of the industry.
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