News from St Paul’s

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Like me you may have missed the report on the Financial Services Sector that St Paul’s produced in November. It got rather lost in the Occupy debate. It’s actually very good. It was rather shocking to find that more than two thirds of those surveyed in the City did not know that the financial Big Bang happened in 1986 and many did not seem to understand its link with deregulation. But Bishop Peter Selby sums it up for me when he comments:

‘‘So here we have it: a community of people as represented by the respondents (the FSPs) supports deregulation and believes it contributes to declining ethical standards.”

That’s the double bind they’re in. They think deregulation and perhaps even bonuses and the rest are necessary for their business to flourish; they think their companies have high moral standards and want this to be the case; but they also know believe that supporting the first undermines the second. What was that about serving two masters?

St Paul’s press release is below the fold with the link to the report:

Professionals in the Financial Services sector believe that City bond traders, FTSE Chief Executives and stock brokers are paid too much, teachers are paid too little and that there is too great a gap between rich and poor in the UK, according to a survey carried out by ComRes on behalf of St Paul’s Institute.

Marking the 25th anniversary of the financial ‘Big Bang’, the survey also indicates that the majority of Financial Services professionals do not know that the London Stock Exchange’s motto is ‘My Word is My Bond’ and many think that deregulation of financial markets results in less ethical behaviour.

The survey of 515 professionals working in the Financial Services sector in London carried out online by ComRes between 30th August and 12th September 2011 also found that:

· The majority of FS professional think that bankers, stock brokers, FTSE 100 chief executives, lawyers and city bond traders are paid too much.

· ‘Salary and bonuses’ are the most important motivation for professionals working in the FS sector in London for 2 in 3 (64%) participants. ‘Enjoyment of the work’ comes a distant second.

· 75% agree that there is too great a gap between rich and poor.

· Only 14% of respondents correctly indicated the motto of the London Stock Exchange (“My Word is My Bond”).

· Many are not familiar with what happened after the financial ‘Big Bang’:

o 1 in 3 disagree that the financial markets were deregulated

o More than two-thirds (69%) did not know that the financial Big Bang happened in 1986.

· The majority of respondents feel that their companies maintain high ethical standards that are broadly in line with their personal moral standards.

Commenting on the survey Revd Michael Hampel, Canon Precentor of St Paul’s Cathedral, said:
Action is a crucial goal of the protest camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral. We hope that the telling findings of this report can provide a solid foundation for future engagement and highlight issues where action might be of mutual concern for all sides of the debate.

The report, entitled ‘Value and Values: Perceptions of Ethics in the City Today’ can be downloaded at: http://www.stpaulsinstitute.org.uk/Reports