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Financial industry at the crossroads between current practices and ethical virtues

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In recent years both among academia and practitioners has become widely accepted that it is necessary to reconfigure financial institutions’ traditional business model, so as to regain lost values during crisis and consumer confidence. Also, the profile and behavior of financial products and services consumers has changed, by evolving from non-involvement to a socially responsible attitude.
At present, financial industry has reached a status of increased awareness on the necessity of combining core virtues such as ethics, social responsibility and professionalism with financial innovation dynamics and investors’ active involvement.
The dynamics of innovation in the alternative finance field entailed considerable metamorphoses of traditional financial intermediation. Crowdfunding platforms were developed as an alternative to traditional funding sources, both in terms of functioning mechanism and transparency. Also, it is increasingly emphasized the need for alternative models to traditional banking activities and the implementation of ethical principles and standards in the professions providing financial reports. Socially responsible investments have acquired a new dimension and investors base their decisions on their own requirements in terms of ethics in finance. Shadow banking system, which is held responsible for triggering the global financial crisis, proves by its recent regulatory developments the ability to generate confidence among investors.
The major topics that could be find in the works selected for this special volume, titled “Financial industry at the crossroads between current practices and ethical virtues” are articulated around the concept of ethical and alternative finance, namely: the determinants of ethical banks emergence and performance, ethical rating model for mutual funds evaluation, ethical and psychological approach to high quality financial reports, considerations on shadow banking ethical issues, scope and regulation, the emergence and spread of crowdfunding platforms.
Ethical banks are analyzed in terms of features and performances. Relative to this issue, the study shows that ROA is a more relevant indicator than ROE. The institutional theory of ethical banks emergence and performance is adopted and agreed by taking into consideration selected country indicators from the World Development Indicators, the Global Financial Development database, the Global Competitive and The Global Competitiveness Report.
Recently, a new typology of financial innovation has brought into public attention the necessity and importance of alternative finance. Crowdfunding platforms developed rapidly because they provided investors transparent opportunities related to the manners they could save or invest money, by comparison to the opacity manifested by traditional banks.
Crowdfunding emergence is correlated with possible effects on financial exclusion and unemployment rate, being perceived as an instrument for promoting local projects. Consequently, it enhances customers’ solidarity and their effective involvement in the financing process. The approaches related to crowdfunding and the need for an harmonized regulation depict a high degree of utility and relevance, in the context of over 23 million small and medium enterprises operating at EU level, from which almost 30% face liquidity constraints due to low access to banking financing.
Socially responsible investments also represent a financial innovation that creates incentives for investors to fundament their decision making on ethical principles and standards. In this respect, the proposal for an ethical rating model for mutual funds evaluation aims at providing individual and institutional investors with an intuitive screening tool. The analysis of mutual funds based on several criteria, such as the socio-responsible nature, constitutes an innovative financial tool, adapted to the needs of sophisticated investors, which resonate with socio-ethical standards, principles and virtues.
Ethical standards and psychological factors are important in the accounting profession, too. The preparatory process of financial statements that serve as the main source of information for market players requires the emphasizing of the crucial role held by the human factor. Accountants’ decision making process is analyzed in the light of theories that emphasize the role of external ethical standards and social acceptance in developing and implementing ethical and lawful behaviors.
Customers’ trust, as a virtue held by the financial system, passes at present through a process meant to regain lost positions. The most representative is the case of shadow banking system which, by its actual size, components, dynamics and regulation proves that it might become a newly emerging lending system that complements the existing banking one. By dilution of the borders between financial market’s traditional components, shadow banking might be able to generate an integrated supervisory model at the level of the entire financial system. In addition, through a better understanding of entities and activities involved, it could generate significant changes in investors’ behavior.

Dr.Iustina Alina Boitan,
Prof. Dr. Teodora Cristina Barbu,
The Editors of “Financial industry at the crossroads between current practices and ethical virtues”.
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Guest Editors - Dr Iustina Boitan,Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania

  Dr Prof Teodora Barbu, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania
Ewa Wanda Maruszewska , Sabina Kolodziej
Ethical and psychological approach to high quality financial reports [Vol:0, №:0, Year:0]

Ana Kundid Novokmet
Exploring the determinants of ethical banks emergence and performance [Vol:0, №:0, Year:0]

Iustina Boitan , Teodora Barbu
CROWDFUNDING MODELS – SURVEY ON BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS, PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES [Vol:0, №:0, Year:0]

Teodora Cristina Barbu , Carmen Obreja , Iustina Boitan
SHADOW BANKING – CONSIDERATIONS ON ETHICAL ISSUES, SCOPE AND REGULATORY PROSPECTS [Vol:0, №:0, Year:0]

Federica Ielasi , Sara Limberti
A COMPREHENSIVE ETHICAL RATING MODEL FOR MUTUAL FUNDS’ EVALUATION [Vol:0, №:0, Year:0]

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2015

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Last Updated:April 28, 2015

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