Well, I think that ethics and sanctions in this field have to become normal. These professional associations – if you’re a lawyer, if you’re an accountant, if you are part of the management community – they have to anchor and sanction serious ethical standards, that is very important.
Secondly, I think it’s very important that the rule of law is made much more strict towards those in positions of responsibility – in particular, we need higher fines and also a serious possibility of going to jail. And the most important punishment is that the names of those responsible for committing certain acts have to be made public for a long time – that is very important, because my experience is that what people in power like the least is when their name is exposed, this is what hurts. So, at the moment, it’s rather unusual in many European countries that people who have committed financial crimes are ever named, neither the business nor the individual.
This is probably the biggest deterrent – it’s about money, it’s about jail and it’s about reputation. This contributes of course to ethics.
And the last thing, I think Ethics [classes] must become compulsory in all business, law and accountant educational programs.
In the end, it’s very difficult to force people to be ethical; you can contribute to it, but cynicism, a political cynicism, ethical cynicism, is becoming normalized – the finance world can’t stay uninfluenced by that change.
Answered by: Sven Giegold, MEP
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