by Tony Vidler
Their 4 step ethical test is:
As financial services trundles towards becoming a profession (ever so slowly!) 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. How can one be sure that what you think is right stands up to ethical scrutiny?
I think Rotary have nailed it for us. 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 actually an excellent one 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.