Major new study of financial ethics published by St Paul’s Cathedral institute

Cathedral at heart of ‘Occupy London’ protests releases timely survey

The St. Paul’s Institute, the think tank attached to London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral which has assumed a central role in the Occupy London protests, has released a major new study on ethics in financial services.

The research was commissioned and produced before protests on the cathedral’s doorstep led to the resignations of senior clergy Graeme Knowles and Giles Fraser.

“We are releasing the report in its original and unaltered form,” the institute said, adding it was always intended to help move “beyond colloquialisms” about the City financial district.
The research, to mark the 25th anniversary of the ‘Big Bang’ market deregulation, said respondents believe bond traders, FTSE CEOs and stock brokers are paid too much, teachers are paid too little and that there is too great a gap between rich and poor in the UK.

Responsible Investor reported last week that the Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres has met with UK pension funds and investment houses as the Church looks totake a firm position on excessive executive pay in the City. Another key finding of the new research is that the majority of respondents reject the notion that corporate social responsibility (CSR) has a negative effect on shareholder value.

The Value and Values: Perceptions of Ethics in the City Today survey was conducted by independent market research firm ComRes. It questioned 515 financial services professionals in London between August 30-September 12.

The Institute was founded to “engage the financial world with questions of morality and ethics”.

In his introduction to the report, written before he left, Fraser acknowledges that the conversation between the church and the City can be “tricky” but not ducked. Ken Costa, the former chairman of Lazards International, has been appointed by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, to head a team looking at ethical finance.

Last month, Generation Investment Management’s David Blood, in a talk at the Institute, showed his support for the protests.