Inspiration

Early Exposure to Professional Ethical Conduct is Good for Students….Dr. Tony Orji (This Day Newspaper)

MARINA STREET, LAGOS 

Early
exposure of young minds to business ethics and compliance will help a
great deal in engendering integrity in the market place, writes Peter
Uzoho
Businesses
thrive when players in the industry – investors, employers, employees,
all concerned, hold on to the sanctity of trust, high level of integrity
and professionalism in all dealings. The capital and financial market
and the investment industry generally will only prosper and all parties
happy when fundamental business values, corporate rules and procedures
are upheld by all in all situations, irrespective of position.
However,
when professional business ethics is lacking, breached or lost,
mistrust sets in, loyalty is lost, investments are jeopardised,
businesses are brought to abrupt end and the economy suffers. To this
end, developing a platform that enables players in the investment market
to always abide by good professional ethics as well as exposing young
ones who are future players on issues relating to ethical compliance
holds high hope for the industry.
It
was against this backdrop that First Bank Nigeria Limited, bought into
the Universities Ethics Challenge initiated by the Chartered Financial
Analysts (CFA) Society Nigeria. CFA Institute is a global,
not-for-profit association of investment professionals with a mission to
lead the investment profession globally by promoting best ethical
standard, educational and professional excellence for the benefit of
society.
The
institute’s educational programmes are designed to reach out to and
develop next generation of investment professionals through hands-on
training, mentorship and competitions. The universities Ethics Challenge
is one of such educational outreach programmes and it is targeted at
university students offering business courses.
The primary purpose
of the competition is to expose them early to ethical realities in the
investment industry as future players as well as assessing their sense
of judgment on such critical issues.
In
the competition, participating students are given two identical case
studies which focus on ethical issues in the investment sector to do a
review and identify where there are ethical violations and make
recommendations for action.
The programme aligns perfectly with
the bank’s corporate social responsibility which cuts across commitment
to ethics and professional excellence and driving growth through
building the capacity of Nigerians. First Bank offered to sponsor the
programme for the next three years.
Recently,
students of business-related faculties from five of Nigeria’s premier
universities – University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, University of
Nigeria Nsukka, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, and Ahmadu Bello
University, Zaria took part in the final of the 2017 edition of the CFA
Nigeria Ethics Challenge in Lagos.
2016/first
edition winner, University of Lagos won the competition again and was
presented with the trophy at the CFA Nigeria Award Dinner at the Civic
Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. Minister of Industry, Trade and
Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah and his Finance counterpart, Mrs.
Kemi Adeosun, joined the Group Executive, Treasury and Financial
Institution, First Bank, Mr. Ini Ebong in presenting the trophy to the
winning school.
Speaking
to journalists on the essence of the bank’s partnership in the
programme, Head, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability,
First Bank, Mr. Ismail Omamegbe, said the programme was in line with an
aspect of the bank’s institutional values and purpose of existence.
These, according to him were their belief in corporate governance,
ethics and integrity. “And we do think that we have to demonstrate this
as well; so it’s not just believing,” Omamegbe said.
He
stressed that the bank had impacted positively on the society as part
of the nation building. “But we do think that when you have to build
institutions you have to build from the scratch, you have to be able to
lay certain foundation. And we believe that the CFA Society and CFA
Institute is a global organisation that focuses on integrity and ethics
and research, and one of the ways to help them do that is to partner
with them to get this done,” he noted.
Omamegbe
added: “The second aspect is to actually demonstrate our commitment. We
have a Chair at the University of Lagos on business ethics called the
‘Samuel Asabia Chair for Business Ethics’. It’s basically an aspect of
the sustainability agenda. The key thing we believe in as an
organisation is that ethics is very important and, if you don’t have
integrity there is something wrong.
“And
we believe that the university students for example are the young ones
that are going to take over the institutions in the future. So how do
you create a platform where they can inculcate these values – the value
of ethics and the believe in ethics; and actually demonstrate it later
in life? So we’re supporting CFA to be able to build the foundation with
these young ones”, he noted.
However,
President, CFA Society Nigeria, Mr. Banji Fehintola, said the ethics
challenge was important to the association as according to him, the
investment industry thrives on ethics.
“And what we are doing is
to start talking to university students right from when they are still
in school before they even come into the investment industry – to start
inculcating in them the ethical principles that we think will make the
industry to be sustainable in the long run. So that’s the overall
objectives,” Fehintola said.
“The programme started last year with
two universities as pioneer participants and was expanded this year,
accommodating seven schools, and is projected to expand more in the
coming years. “This year with the support of First Bank, we had seven
schools participating. Last year we had two.”
He
said one of his commitments as president of the association was to
start addressing the issue by talking to those that are coming in in the
future rather than the ones that are already in the system. “And that’s
why we are doing this ethics challenge – to start getting these ones to
understand ethics even before they come into the industry.
“And
to be honest, sitting in the room watching them say some of these things
mean that the future of the industry is very bright. We are building an
industry that will be more ethical and more professional in future,” he
said.
To ensure the outcome of the programme meets CFA standards, Fehintola
explained
that Judges used in the competition were all CFA Chartered Holders.
“And this year we got First Bank as a sponsor of the programme to
nominate a judge who has joined the panel of judges and, we did that for
two reasons.
“One, it’s also our own way of getting someone who
is not a CFA Chartered member to also appreciate the CFA Standards that
we are preaching to people. And the feedback I’ve gotten from her is
that she has learnt so much from listening to these students. And even
for her, it’s been a life changing experience being part of this
competition.”
In
his appreciation, Fehintola noted that First Bank had been extremely
supportive of the association in realising its objectives. “When we
preached this whole idea to the bank to support this ethic challenge
they came and they exceeded our expectations. For instance, First Bank
said to us we can partner with you not just monetarily, we can also
offer you things like our training centre, we can offer you
accommodation for the students, we can offer you all our facilities for
you to use, which to me shows that the bank believes strongly in what
we’re doing.
“They believe that ethical standards are very
important not just for the banking sector but for the investment
industry as a whole. We asked them for one year support and First Bank
offered us three year support. So I really appreciate them for that,” he
added.
Commenting
on the assessment of the students’ performance at the competition,
Chairman, Publicity Committee, CFA Society Nigeria, Mr. Ayokunle Ojo,
pointed out that the students were able to identify a number of ethical
challenges. He said these ranged from misconduct, not understanding the
law and lack of adequate supervision.
He said issues of lack of
integrity in the capital market as an adviser were spotted out by the
participants. According to Ojo, as an adviser you are supposed to uphold
the law and do the right thing in dealing with your clients. You are
supposed to put the interest of your client above the interest of your
employer and above your own personal interest.
“If
young people are aware of the dilemma that we face as members of the
capital market and if they understand in a clear way how to deal with
those issues it then means that when they start participating either as
employees or as captains of industries they will be able to make the
right decisions. And if we’re all making the right decision then the
financial industry and the capital market will improve and that would
impact on the society at large”, He added.
Meanwhile,
appreciating the impact of the programme, Faculty Adviser, University
of Nigeria Nsukka CFA Ethics Challenge Contingent, Dr. Tony Orji, said
the ethical challenge was a good way of encouraging the students to
imbibe good professional ethics, noting that, it has given a lot of
experience and exposure to them.
“It’s a good way of raising the
students because the foundation of any building matters a lot,” Orji
said. “These students have come and learnt about the professional ethics
and conduct. In the near future they will be the investors, advisers
and financial analysts.
“And,
having learnt this good ethics, they are going to enshrine it into
their professional conduct. Also, as a faculty adviser, I have learnt a
lot. So, bringing my students here was not a waste at all. On this note,
I commend CFA Society and First Bank for creating a platform where
these young ones can be exposed early to ethical issues in the capital
market”, Orji noted.
One
of the participants and member of team UNILAG, Seyi Akindutire, said
the programme was a learning point for him. He said: “I think I’m going
somewhere from here; I’m going home from here with the best in my heart.
Inculcating this ethical habits and conducts and internalising it is
going to change our perspective about the industry and make us to be
discipline as individuals in the finance industry.”
Also
commenting, Bright Mgbemena of team UNN said featuring in the ethical
challenge was phenomenal in his life as a potential player in the
industry, saying the experience surpassed his expectation.
He
said: “When I heard of the CFA Society ethic challenge I was thinking it
was going to be a mere challenge not knowing it was going to be this
outstanding. “The programme has really impacted on me and my fellow
students. You know ethic is very important for the growth and
sustainability of an organisation.
According
to him, abiding by or contravening ethical rules of a company
determines its survival in the industry. “Because you have to make
investment decisions, recommending whether there will be a sale or a buy
with the company’s stock. This is not something for the moment; it’s
something we believe will take us to places.
“The
organisers are looking at the future of the investment market and
thinking about what to do to secure the market. So that’s why they
shifted attention to us, the young ones that will one day come in as
players in the industry. So I really commend CFA Society and First Bank
for giving us this opportunity,” Mgbemena added.
Source: https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/11/17/deepening-ethical-compliance-in-business/

 

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Tony Orji

Dr. Tony Orji is the founder and owner of Success Tonics Blog. He is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

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