Ten Million Dollars, Anybody?

If you could get away with it would you engage in a spot of insider trading?

A new report by Wall Street law firm Labaton Sucharow, suggests that 24% of people in the financial services sector would do so (nearly twice as many as in the same poll last year).
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Labaton Sucharow run a special advocacy programme for whistleblowers, and the report makes for gloomy reading.

The report suggests:

  • financial misconduct is still widespread
  • there has been a decline in leadership, individual integrity and corporate culture on Wall Street
  • 28% feel that their organisations do not put their clients’ interests first

The insider trading point is instructive.

The question was whether respondents – if guaranteed anonymity and $10M – would engage in insider trading. On the basis that insider trading is a crime, this suggests that a quarter of people on Wall Street are either prepared to commit a wrongdoing, or they do not see this as a crime.

Labaton’s strapline is “we have the power to change course, but first we must accept that Wall Street has a significant and growing ethical crisis and act now to address the problem”.

Either way, if this report is to be believed, five years after the financial crisis –it suggests not only no change, but that things may be heading in precisely the wrong direction.

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