by Tony Vidler
Some time ago I attended a Rotary club function as a guest and ‘discovered’ the best ethical test I’ve ever heard. When I say ‘discovered’, I personally didn’t discover anything at all…but I was introduced to The Rotary Philosophy which was a discovery for me. It is hardly new, having been written in 1932, however during a discussion recently on how to apply ethical standards practically and consistently I was reminded of it.
Their 4 step ethical test is:
As financial services evolves into a fully fledged profession internationally we sometimes struggle to adapt academic or legal concepts into workable daily principles. Applying the fiduciary responsibility of a professional into a simple and easy to remember set of guidelines that can be consistently applied regardless of your specialty area or business structure can be problematic.
However, I think Rotary have nailed it. Perhaps in the strictest professional sense Number 3 is not necessarily a fit….but then why not? Certainly the fiduciary concept is captured with the simple questions of truth, fairness and benefit to all concerned. As an ethical test they would apply to any profession. The third may not apply to all professions, however perhaps it is essential for financial services.
Given the level of consumer distrust that has become endemic within financial services it would seem to be an excellent inclusion into our ethical standards. Does what we do also create and promote goodwill? Given the intergenerational family impact together with the community benefits of economic self sufficiency that come from good financial planning advice this “test” is perhaps the essential missing element required to achieve consumer acceptance of financial advice as a profession.
Whether that step is or is not required though, this is an excellent 4 step test that any professional can apply to determine whether their advice, service standards and behavior meet the ethical standards that could be expected of a professional.Tony on Google+All materials contained on this web site not otherwise subject to copyright of other parties are subject to the ownership rights of Tony Vidler. Tony Vidler authorizes you to make a single copy of the content herein for your own personal, non-commercial, use while visiting the site. You agree that any copy made must include the Tony Vidler copyright notice in full. No other permission is granted to you to print, copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, upload, download, store, display in public, alter, or modify the content contained on this web site. 0