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Banking royal commission interim report highlights greed and unethical behaviour, says Governance Institute

The highly anticipated interim report from the banking royal commission has been released.

“The findings of the interim report raise issues of major concern — particularly greed — the pursuit of short term profit at the expense of ethical behaviour,” said Governance Institute’s Acting Chief Executive, Meegan George.

The report findings support the results of our 2018 Ethics Index, which found that the banking, finance and insurance sector is perceived as the least ethical sector.

“The sector needs to rebuild trust and take ownership of their past conduct,” said Ms George.

“The CEO and board of directors are key to influencing and improving good corporate culture. They need to put the voice of the customer first, not just the customer‘s wallet,” said Ms George.

“This sector has faced reputational and financial damage as a result of misconduct and non-compliance. It’s also facing greater regulatory scrutiny. How will boards and executives work together to establish and maintain the governance and risk management structures needed in this new world?” she continued.

“Now is the time for a wide-ranging conversation on the clarity of the role of the board versus the executive and how organisations are held to account for unethical behaviour,” said Ms George.

The report also raises crucial questions on whether the law should be administered or enforced differently.

“Governance Institute considers the Corporations Act as important economic infrastructure and we support reforms to modernise and simplify it — particularly those provisions impacting on customers and retail investors” concluded Meegan George.

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Note to journalists: Governance Institute Ethics Index is available upon request.

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