Commentary: BlackRock CEO exhorts corporations to develop "social conscience"; yet finance sector still lags on social responsibility

Author: David Kinley, Open Democracy, Published on: 22 April 2018

"Finance struggles to find a social conscience", 15 April 2018

...[F]inancier BlackRock CEO Larry Fink's latest letter exhorting...[c]orporations must secure a reputational "social license" to operate....

What is most reprehensible is the evident disregard banks pay to the consequences of their actions. The size of settlements in many of these cases...have become mere costs of doing business.... Some settlements are even tax-deductable!

...[T]itans of finance need to be sure that they are also putting their own house in order. Banks and other financial institutions still struggle to come to terms even with the relevancy of the language of human rights to their operations.

A 2017 discussion paper from...European banks...distances financiers from any responsibility for human rights abuses of their clients unless the bank's funding is "directly linked" to the rights-abusing action....

...[T]he many instances of skulduggery within finance seem to be more products of prevailing banking culture rather than something innate to the sector.

It is here that the sentiment behind Mr Fink's letter gains traction. It is volunteered from within the sector; not imposed from without. It challenges the status quo of finance's exceptionalist claims to be unhindered in its pursuit of profit (the 'golden goose' syndrome), and it confronts finance's entrenched political power (the revolving door between finance and government).

 

 

[also refers to BNP, Credit Suisse, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America]

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Related companies: Bank of America BlackRock BNP Paribas Credit Suisse HSBC JPMorgan Chase