42 J. Corp. L. 559 (2017)
38 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2017 Last revised: 26 Aug 2019
Date Written: March 13, 2017
The capstone of regulatory reform in the wake of the financial crisis has turned out to be an effort to pair substantive changes to the financial industry with an effort to get bankers to behave more ethically. Regulators have emphasized the importance of “culture” set by a “tone at the top” that makes “ethical conduct” a primary organizational value — though they have not given much content to any of these terms. This Article inquires as to what it means to operationalize ethics and culture in a regulatory project and what it tells us about the state of banking and its oversight. The content of these calls for a culture of ethics in banking appears to be an effort to impose the requirements of professional responsibility on a new industry. But banking is no ordinary profession, and the imposition of cultural change is easier said than done. There are good reasons to be skeptical of the merits of a campaign to create ethical bankers, but it may be the most acceptable of an unattractive set of alternatives.
Keywords: Financial Regulation, Securities Regulation, Administrative Law, Law and Anthropology
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