ers of Australia's banking and financial services sector have put aside rivalries and created an industry oath to tackle the sector's reputational issues.
The Banking and Finance Oath (BFO), established 18 months ago, is chaired by AMP Capital managing director Stephen Dunne and championed by seven fellow industry executives and BFO board members, including Morgan Stanley Australia managing director Steven Harker, and MLC chief executive Steve Tucker.
"Our industry cops a lot of flack. Financial services, globally, has not done so well in the last four or five years," Tucker told an audience at yesterday's American Chamber of Commerce In Australia business briefing.
"A lot of people have challenged the fact that we actually act in our clients' interest. We have to change that and there are a lot of different thoughts and views on that."
He said the BFO was created to stress to investors that the negative perceptions and realities of the industry are not because the companies do the wrong thing, but because the people do the wrong thing.
"What we're trying to do is create a movement of people who operate in this industry to stand up and say personally, 'I'm accountable for how I operate'."
"At the moment it's brand new and we don't know how we'll go," he said.
"But the confidence I have is that almost everybody that I talk to in our industry, our profession - whether they are very junior or very senior - feels very strongly that the industry has a reputational issue to deal with and that they personally want to be part of changing that and that's what we're trying to do with the oath."
At the time of writing, the BFO website has 25 signatories from industry participants, including all BFO board members.
The remaining signatories include Colonial First State general manager of strategy Nicolette Rubinsztein, MLC Advice Solutions general manager Tom Reddacliff, Credit Suisse equities director Simon Bolles, NAB Wholesale Bank Strategy senior adviser Dennis Gentilin, to name a few.
The BFO contains a set of principles which individuals in the banking and financial services sector are asked to adopt in their work.
The principles ask individuals to pledge that: trust will be the foundation of their profession, that they will serve all interests in good faith, compete with honour, pursue their ends with ethical restraint and create a sustainable future.
The oath also calls on individuals to help create a more just society, speak out against wrongdoing and support others who do the same, accept responsibility for my actions, and that 'My word is my bond'.
Individuals can sign the BFO on the group's website (http://www.thebfo.org/home
To sign the oath there is an annual membership fee of AUD$20.
Tucker said the BFO group expects to be discussing the oath internationally, not just within Australia.