Report: Financial Firms Use Digital Technologies to Improve Ethical Conduct

Three-quarters of financial firms surveyed for a new report claim they are raising their standards of ethical conduct beyond regulation requirements—and are using digital technologies to do so.

"Digital Finance: Meeting Ethics and Compliance Challenges in Financial Services," sponsored by Mazars, considers how financial services companies are responding to both the wave of regulations and the surge in digitisation in the industry.

The report, based on a survey of 201 senior financial industry executives and a programme of in-depth interviews, shows that financial firms have made progress in implementing regulations aimed at improving transparency, enhancing data security, and otherwise raising ethical standards. For example, 57% of surveyed firms say their companies have introduced new information gathering and reporting requirements to improve transparency.

Moreover, most respondents say they have turned such ethical compliance into a competitive advantage. Respondents cite  improved brand image (80%) and improved financial results (51%) as a result of setting higher ethical and transparency standards.

At the same time, fewer than half of financial firms surveyed say they have introduced new internal procedures or business processes (45%), or new corporate policies or codes of conduct (43%), to improve transparency and/or ethical conduct. And only 21% say they have changed internal procedures specifically in response to the availability and use of new digital tools.

“These results show the industry has more work to do to foster ethics-oriented corporate cultures that go beyond narrow legal compliance,” said Aviva Freudmann, reseach director for EMEA Thought Leadership at the EIU and editor of the report.

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