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William Blair and Clara Barbiani

This chapter considers the interaction between industry-based initiatives and regulatory-driven ones to enhance ethical culture within financial institutions. The purpose of this chapter is: to highlight the importance of furthering a continuous move towards ensuring standards of conduct both within and outside financial institutions; and, at same time, identifying the limits posed by the existence of different instruments aimed at regulating conduct, with distinct implications in terms of enforceability. The significance of the role of standards has been broadly recognised; however, what remains unclear is whether the new framework created to enhance their role is being shaped adequately, or whether it is producing inconsistencies and confusion due its complexity. The chapter also focuses on the rise of a regulatory framework enhancing ethical values such as honesty, integrity and fairness. The new emphasis shows a move towards the recognition of the importance of these values, but, at same time, the process of placing them in the regulatory framework also raises new questions: how is it possible to expect people to respect these values and translate them into ethical conduct? And, also, how can we ensure that people develop a common and clear understanding of them?