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Finance Professionals’ Bad Image

Good and BadThere has been a spate of articles depicting bad images of financial professionals. To keep this post short, I will just talk about one, which I read a couple weeks ago.

The link to the article I’m referencing is:

http://www.thestreet.com/story/12522280/1/5-reasons-executives-arent-good-people.html

The article is titled “5 Reasons Executives Aren’t Good People”, written on 3/12/2014 by Jason Notte in The Street.

The article really talks about executives in general but there are many references to financial folks. It is a really interesting read and I would urge you to read it.

The part that caught my eye and really dismayed me was the section on “They’re unethical”. The entire section is finance related. A real punch in the gut (and really worrisome) is a finding in a study conducted by Economist Intelligence Unit that found financial executives “in the financial services industry didn’t see much to gain by conducting their business ethically.” The survey found that most finance  professional would find it hard to be successful if they stayed true to the ethics and that many finance departments “are an ethical breach waiting to happen.”

So they learned nothing from the 2008 debacle.

Which probably means they are already back to doing what they were doing before – maybe in a slightly different fashion. Unfortunately, that study gives credence to the idea that the finance industry needs to be regulated. But regulation alone may not be enough – the punishment phase needs to bite.

The next section in the article gives the reason why I think regulation alone is not enough – “They’re psychopaths”. The article says not all executives are psychopaths but there are four times as many in the executive ranks as there are in the general populace. Remember when the finance folks balked at having their bonuses taken away after the 2008 debacle? How they appeared “tone deaf” as to what the general populace felt about them and thought they deserved those bonuses? That sounds like a psychopath. I have a theory that because finance industry involves lots of money, the really smart psychopaths gravitate towards finance and wiggle in the gray area to perform what I call legalized criminal activity. That’s why it’s hard to bring them to trial and hard to convict them. And when a conviction is won, the punishment may be too light to change their behavior.

So it’s scary to think their ethics haven’t changed. It’s only a matter of time we have another finance crisis – the question is when. And finance will continue to have a bad image.

Note on picture: I really wanted to use another drawing but I was unable to obtain permission to use a picture for reference so I had to come up with an alternative. It’s kind of a shame considering the reference picture is so much like all other pictures you see out on the web. I saw at least 3 that were very similar and it’s not like “they” are making off of the picture – it’s a couple of years old.

 

 

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