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Aristos Campus Mundus reflects on ethics in finance with renowned experts from Deusto, Esade-RLU and Comillas

02/11/2015

We have experienced and continue to be affected by a huge financial crisis that has negatively impacted the welfare of many people. There are various causes that triggered it. However, a lack of ethics contributed to starting and worsening the crisis. For this reason, Aristos Campus Mundus (ACM) intends to foster reflection on ethics and finance with renowned specialists at DeustoForum in the cycle entitled “Business and responsible banks”, sponsored by the BBVA.

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On 10 February, Raúl González Fabre (Comillas ICAI-ICADE), Carmen Ansotegui (Esade-RLU), and Peru Sasía (University of Deusto) took part in a round table discussion on “Ethics and Finance” moderated by Fernando Gómez-Bezares (University of Deusto). José Luis Fernández (Comillas ICAI-ICADE) was a guest speaker and the book “Ética de las finanzas” was presented.

 The first speaker, Raúl González Fabre, spoke on the sense of ethics in finance and the social purpose of finance, in addition to some general ethical problems of financiers such as the use of privileged information or conflicts of interest. Carmen Ansotegui also dealt with the problems shared by financial professions: financial managers, bankers, brokers, auditors and supervisors. Peru Sasía, in turn, spoke on the characteristics and feasibility of a different way of banking: ethical banking. Lastly, José Luis Fernández presented the book: Ética de las Finanzas”, in which these subjects are examined.

 Following these talks, moderator Fernando Gómez-Bezares, brought up some pressing ethical problems for discussion: the high indebtedness of countries and families, the complexity of some financial products that have given rise to litigation such as the case of preference shares or the difficulty of regulatiing financial activity in a globalised economy (see, for instance, the European Union’s problems in obliging Greece to meet its demands, although Greece cannot be allowed to do as it pleases).

 Other subjects debated were agents’ different motivations (some want the maximum amount of wealth while others may only want “sufficient” wealth), the abuses committed by some financial agents (use of privileged information or price manipulation), actions of board members who follow their own selfish pursuits, errors made by auditors and rating agencies… In effect, financial problems which are closely related to ethics and have played a large role in the crisis we are experiencing.

 

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