A new survey has come out saying that Wall Street lacks ethics. Really, it took a report to deliver this news? Does this mean people don’t pay attention to the news?
According to a New York Times story by William Alden, he writes that legal firm Labaton Sucharow just released the results of it survey, Wall Street, Fleet Street and Main Street: Corporate Integrity at a Crossroads. The study compiled data from 500 financial services professionals from the United States and Britain.
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Here’s a few interesting nuggets from Tuesday’s press release:
- 24 percent of the respondents believe that financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct in order to be successful
- 26 percent of the respondents had either observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace
- 30 percent of the respondents said their compensation or bonus plan created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law
- And here’s one disturbing finding: 16 percent of the respondents said they would commit a crime—insider trading—if they could get away with it.
In response to the disheartening findings, Jordan Thomas, a Labaton Sucharow partner and chair of the firm’s whistle-blower representation practice, said in the press release, “When misconduct is common and accepted by financial services professionals, the integrity of our entire financial system is at risk. In this era of corporate scandals, we must refocus our energies on corporate ethics and encourage individuals to report wrongdoing—internally or externally.”
So what do you do with these findings? Will there be a slew of whistle blowers from the financial services industry? Probably not but it doesn’t mean that Labaton Sucharow, who is “the first law firm in the country to establish a practice exclusively focused on protecting and advocating for whistleblowers who report possible securities violations to the SEC” according to its boilerplate, won’t try.
In conjunction with the release of the survey, the firm also introduced its SEC Whistleblower Eligibility Calculator, a web-based tool that allows users to gauge their eligibility for the SEC Whistleblower Program, according to Tuesday’s press release.
Why do I not see a trader huddled over his Apple iPad reviewing this calculator while sitting at the trading desk? It’s probably not going to be a tool that is Wall Street cocktail party chatter.
That’s ok, Labaton Sucharow had some encouraging numbers that may support its product. In its survey, it found that 94 percent of the respondents would report wrongdoing with protections and incentives as offered by the SEC Whistleblower Program, but only 44 percent of the respondents seemed aware of this investor protection program.
The survey comes at an interesting time given the recent Barclays (LON:BARC) (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) Libor and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) trading scandal. Maybe the release of the results has some good timing and traction for the law firm.