Is This How Wall Street Cleans Up Its Act? Badly Behaved Banker List Raises Concerns

An effort is underway to create a master list of Wall Street bankers who have run into ethical issues on the job. The proposed database would help companies avoid hiring repeat offenders who have a habit of jumping from firm to firm.

But advocates of stronger ethics on Wall Street question whether it’s possible to change behaviors without changing incentives.“In many financial institutions there’s a disconnect between what the bank says and what is actually being done,” said Jordan Thomas. Even when employees face companywide ethics guidelines “the structure in which they are working puts pressure on them” to break rules, Thomas added.

“Greater transparency regarding the participants in the financial markets is always good for investors,” said Thomas, who was previously a litigation counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission. “However, great care would need to be taken in the details of such a program because of the potential for abuse.”

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