Dexus Place in Melbourne city once again played host to the increasingly popular Inside Leadership series. The second instalment of the event was entitled Unflinching & unapologetic: Higher expectations transforming governance. With the recent findings of the banking Royal Commission, a special panel discussion and Q&A was arranged, with four of Australia’s leading voices in Governance, Regulation, Dispute Resolution and Conduct. 

The panellists included

Frances Cawthra - the CFO of the Australian Tax Office

John Price - the Commissioner for ASIC

David Locke - the newly appointed Ombudsman for AFCA 

Dennis Gentilin - the Director of Governance, Regulation and Conduct at Deloitte, Author and Whistleblower

The purpose of the evening was for everyone to gain greater clarity around the pitfalls of past financial leadership in relation to the opportunities now available for current transformations, and how to practically take these learnings into the future; to safeguard Australia's financial prospects and integrity.  

The following is a transcribe of the video:

Guest: Organisations won't get away with operating like this anymore because people won't want to work for them and people won't want to do business with them.

Guest: Would you want these sorts of ethics applied to a family member? Would you want it to happen to you?

Guest: Can the financial services industry operate, ethically?

Frances Cawthra: If organisations continue to do what they've always done, they are certainly not going to continue to get what they've always got. I think there has been a seismic shift in what clients and citizens will actually accept; and employees. 

I don't think it's something you can ignore anymore.

John Price: So there's some research from the United Kingdom Financial Reporting Council that suggests ‘intangibles’, somewhat broadly defined, now represent about 80% of the value of large corporations. What this means is that more companies need to be aware that how they deal with customers impacts their brand, their goodwill, and ultimately the value of their company.

David Locke: What we’re seeing is a huge amount of public anger, quite rightly, because people have been treated appallingly by financial institutions. And that's arisen, I believe, because of failures of leadership, of governance and of culture.

Dennis Gentlin: You start by doing a very good diagnostic and understanding where your issues are in your organisation. Be they in your systems and processes, in the attitude of your people, or in the products and services you sell.

John Price: Think about what's been done with workplace health and safety. My challenge to people working in Finance is to make sure financial services and financial products are safe too.

David Locke: People are very foolish if they don't use this as an opportunity to change. Because there is going to be significant change. The regulators are changing. AFCA, which is the Ombudsman is already changing, and public expectations are transformed. 

If they don't change now then organisations are not going to survive.

Frances Cawthra: It isn't about a tick and flick. It isn’t about the structure and framework that you put in place. Governance should be the way you do business. It should be in every part of your DNA. And it should be in every part of your operation. It should be, your culture.

Guest: It was just great getting insight into that culture and what's going on behind the scenes. Especially with what's going on at the moment. Yes, it was very informative.

Guest: The point is that everyone is responsible for the ethics and culture in an organisation, It is not something that is owned by HR or owned by the Board. It is everyone's responsibility to perform in an ethical way.

FutureYou would like to extend our thanks to all the panellists for their time and generosity and to the invited guests for contributing so vigorously to the discussion. 

If you would like to know about the next Inside Leadership event in 2019, please contact James Shaw, Associate Partner, FutureYou Executive Search 

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