In the finance field there are a number of ethical issues although many issues in this field are governed by law. Ethical issues in finance include individual conduct, financial institution operations and financial markets operations. In this field people are trained to perform different duties and thus finance ethics is diversified. However, the top five issues in this field include honesty and fairness, fraud, conflicts of interest, discrimination and information technology. Honesty and fairness in this field has raised much dispute.
Because of the intense competition in the world, many people view the conditions in a business to be similar to those in a game of sport or war and thus anything is considered to be fair. On the other hand there are those who argue that not everything is considered to be honest and fair. This has therefore led to ethical issues in this field regarding what is ‘honest and fair’ and what is not. Conflicts of interest is mainly observed in situations where an individual is placed in a position of making a decision on whether to pursue personal interests or the interests of other individuals or business.
Similar, it can involve an organization making a choice on whether to pursue own interests or the interest of the society. The issue concerning fraud primarily entails the disclosure of valuable information which is vitally important for security. It also involves misrepresentation of material evidence intentionally. There are several types of fraud and this may include; accounting, marketing and consumer fraud. Discrimination is an ethical issue which can involve an individual or a business. Some individuals or businesses abuse others by enticing them and exploiting them.
In addition to that it may include issues regarding race, gender among others. To add to that there are some cases which involve price discrimination. In information technology, the issue entails the privacy and confidentiality of information on matters concerning the employees and consumers. Privacy and confidentiality is essential in this field however there may be some cases where it is not ensured. This has therefore led to ethical issues concerning what is privacy. In addition to that there are ethical issues which involve protection of intellectual property.
Ranking The top five issues can be arranged in descending order as honest and fairness, conflict of interest, fraud, discrimination and information technology (College of Micronesia, n. d. ). Honesty and fairness are major issues since they affect all levels of an organization, and are much experienced by society. Furthermore, controlling this issue other issues will be taken care of. For instance, an organization which is honest and fair, issues concerning fraud, discrimination, conflict of interest and information technology are minimal. Analysis Honesty and fairness
In the financial market fairness is taken to mean a level playing field for everyone. However, in most cases the playing field is unleveled and this can be attributed to issues concerning inequalities in the bargaining power, possession of information, resources available, among others. Inequalities in the bargaining power and resources are considered to be ethical only when used coercively and violate rights and obligations (Frederick, 2002). This implies that individuals or organization are only allowed to use their advantages in ways that are considered fair to others.
Additionally, individuals can use their resources to acquire information which they are entitled to exploit to their advantage. This has made access to information an issue of investment thereby leading to inaccessibility to critical information by some individuals. To acquire information individual must invest adequate resources. Ethical issues arise over accessibility of information, how the information should be distributed to ensure equality. Fraud In sales concerning financial products like insurance policies, loans, mutual funds among others, application of ethical standards is a requirement.
Hence businesses are given the mandate to ensure adequate material information is available. There are regulatory agencies which monitor prospectus for mutual funds, however, personal sales and advertisements can contain false or misleading information (Frederick, 2002). Additionally, this is an issue which has been observed in the stock market and in many businesses. Some individuals conceal valuable information to lure more customers to their businesses. For instance, in the stock market assets of a particular organization may be inflated or some of its liabilities may be concealed.
This issue has led to large losses in many investment companies and to individuals (Frederick, 2002). Since assessing the risk and suitability for an investment has been made difficult with inadequate material information. Conflict of interest This is issue which is primarily observed in agents, fiduciaries and financial managers, in which the personal interest interferes with the interests of the organization or society. Agents and fiduciaries are given the mandate to act on behalf of others in exercising judgment, however, in cases where they stand to gain personally their judgments may be compromised.
Additionally, financial managers are given the mandate to manage assets prudently and thus avoid using them for personal gains however, in some cases conflict of interest might occur. For instance, management buyouts whereby a group of managers take a public organization to be private are an ethical issue. This issue occurs mainly since the actions to be performed by an individual are not fully specified before the transaction and thus an individual is given a wide range of options. In addition to that they are not closely monitored and evaluated. This has led to huge losses being incurred by individuals and companies.
For instance, some banks have collapse and this was attributed to rogue traders (Frederick, 2002). Discrimination This issue observed mainly in financial products and it involves abusive practices of selling such as flipping and twisting. In flipping one loan is replaced by another for generation of additional fees. While in twisting, insurance agents persuade their clients to replace the existing policy in order to get commission (Frederick, 2002). Some financial institution abuse poor individuals by offering them loans of high interest and by adding little values to lure them.
Furthermore, in some institutions there are cases of discrimination in employment on matters concerning race and gender. Information technology Maintaining privacy and confidentiality of information in many business has been difficult because of the cost of technology. As technology advances it becomes more expensive to ensure privacy of employees’ and clients’ information. Furthermore, with the increase in number of people of accessing the internet maintaining privacy and confidentiality has become difficult.
This has therefore led to loss of confident by the public since they cannot trust some organizations to protect their personal information. Solutions and recommendations The issue of conflict of interests can be addressed by closely monitoring individuals and by changing the structure of the relationship. For instance, the commissions can be focused mainly on performance of the client’s portfolios and not on the volumes of sales. Additionally, professionalism, trust and codes of ethics should be strongly emphasized in relationships in order to guarantee the confidence from the society.
Fraud and discrimination issues can be solved in courts. There are laws which were put in place in place to protect people against abuse or discrimination. For instance, the Employment Act protects employees against discrimination and harassment. Furthermore, the pre-dispute arbitration agreement should be amended or individuals should avoid it. This agreement may have several advantages but denies adequate protection to investors. Maintaining privacy and confidentiality of clients’ and employees’ information require much funding.
It is essential for organizations to invest more funds in acquiring knowledge and skills concerning privacy and confidentiality in the information technology. By ensuring privacy and confidentiality, public confidence will be build. Social responsibility is essential for ensuring ethical standards are maintained in the society. When making decisions, people should consider their effects to the society and to themselves. This will ensure that ethical issues are maintained. Additionally, since businesses cannot be trusted to maintain ethical standards, some laws have been passed to ensure social responsibility.
For instance there are laws concerning consumer safety and environment protection. This is a step forward in ensuring ethical standards. Furthermore, there are some financial institutions which have developed and implemented strict policies that ensure ethical standards are adhered. For instance there are policies concerning privacy and confidentiality of employees’ and customers’ information. In conclusion, maintenance of ethical standards should not be the responsibility of an individual or an organization but should involve the whole society.
By maintaining ethical standards the society and organizations will be protected from any harm and at the same time eliminate conflict. Even though ethical standards vary from one society to another, they should be understood and maintained adequately.
College of Micronesia, (n. d. ). Code of Ethics. Retrieved June 18, 2009 from http://www. comfsm. fm/~dleeling/alo/personnel/code_of_ethics. html Frederick R. (2002). A companion to business ethics. Edition: 1. New York: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 154-59.
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