Azish Filabi

NY Fed Offers New Insights for Financial Services Firms

There are two new resources on the Governance and Culture Reform site of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY that highlight the regulatory trends with respect to managing culture in financial services firms. 

The first is a transcript from an event at Thomson Reuters on February 7, 2018, which was a moderated discussion among Bill Dudley (President of the NY Fed), Bill Rhodes (WR Rhodes Global Advisors), and Ellen Alemany  (Chairwoman and CEO of CIT Group), moderated by Rob Cox (Reuters News).  The panelists covered a wide array of matters relating to the topic of Banking Culture:  Still room for reform?

Dudley highlighted that while some progress has been made, there’s still much room for improvement.  For example, the NY Fed has proposed a banking registry to keep track of whether employees have left their jobs for reasons of fraud or other misconduct.  This would address the so called “rolling bad apples” problem, whereby companies may inadvertently hire a rogue employee of another firm because employment law discourages employers from sharing potentially derogatory information about former employees.  He mentions that the U.K. has perhaps made more progress on this matter, having already established a similar registry.

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The Ethics & Compliance Initiative Partners with Ethical Systems

ARLINGTON, VA, February 7th, 2018 – The Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI), the nation’s oldest ethics research and best practice community, today announces a partnership with Ethical Systems, a research collaboration comprised of the nation’s leading scholars specializing in the study of ethical culture and behavior in organizations.  As two respected thought leaders who share a common interest in advancing the highest standards of ethical behavior in organizations, this partnership will provide a platform for both parties to conduct joint research, to develop new metrics, and to expand their reach with new insights that will shape best practice in organizational ethics. 

“This partnership has great promise to significantly enhance our understanding of the importance of ethics and culture in organizations,” said Patricia Harned, ECI’s CEO.  “ECI is delighted to be able to work closely with the most highly regarded scholars in our industry, and we look forward to the collaboration that we know will benefit organizational leaders and students in higher education.

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Under Pressure: Wells Fargo, Misconduct, Leadership and Culture

Consistent with our mission to bring timely and relevant research to the business ethics community, Ethical Systems has just published a new electronic resource: Under Pressure: Wells Fargo, Misconduct, Leadership and Culture.

This case study, created by Bharathy Premachandra, our 2017 Bryan Turner Intern in Business Ethics, with Azish Filabi, Executive Director of Ethical Systems, spotlights the lessons learned from the recent scandal at Wells Fargo around false accounts, inflated sales targets and misguided directives from bank executives.

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Prioritizing Social Responsibility in Companies: A coming firestorm?

In a development that Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times believes will cause “a firestorm” in boardrooms across the country, Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock has sent a letter to the chief executives of the world’s largest public companies urging them to prioritize their company’s social responsibilities.

Sorkin writes that this is likely to be a watershed moment for American companies, given BlackRock’s position as one of the largest investors in the world with more than $6 trillion under management through 401(k) plans, exchange-traded funds and mutual funds.

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2017 End of Year Letter from Jonathan Haidt and Azish Filabi

Dear Friends,

2017 has been a year of surprises, transformation, and growth. Thirteen months ago, on the morning after Election Day, we walked in to the conference room of a global consulting firm based here in New York City. We sat down at a long table with 30 ethics and compliance officers. We gave our talk as planned—a talk on designing ethical systems. But all of us around the table were in a state of… surprise to say the least. Our conversation focused primarily on the consequences of the rather unexpected election of Donald Trump. What were the implications for businesses? How would rules and enforcement change?

Now, a year later, it is clear that whatever regulations are rolled back, businesses face an ever-changing landscape of ethics challenges. Questions of business ethics and ethical culture are front and center in national discussions on sexual harassment in the workplace, diversity and inclusion (which may include viewpoint and political diversity, as we learned in response to the famous “Google memo”); fairness and cheating, and new pressures on leaders to take stands on political controversies. We are on a path to further deregulation of business. The compliance workload may decrease, but the ethics workload will likely increase. This is the time for the business ethics community to show that, together, we can create a better society through ethical business behavior.

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Ethical Systems Files Amicus Brief in Defense of Internal Whistleblowers

This post originally appeared on The FCPA Blog. It is cross posted here.

On November 28, 2017, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Digital Realty Trust v. Paul Somers on the question of whether the whistleblower protections of the Dodd-Frank Act extend to internal whistleblowers, or only to those who report to the SEC.

Research shows that the majority of employees who report misconduct do so internally, through informal discussions with managers and other conduits.  If the Court interprets the Act’s protections as extending only to those who provide information to the SEC, it could stymie and complicate the important work of ethics & compliance ers.

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ECI Webcast Recording: New Behavioral Science Tools from Ethical Systems

Azish Filabi (Executive Director of Ethical Systems) and Jeffrey Kaplan (ES collaboarator and Partner at Kaplan & Walker, LLP) recently led a webcast about ethics, research, and culture highlighting new behavioral science tools for the ethics and compliance field. The slides and recording are now available.

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[Updated] The Ethics Case for Due Diligence: Azish Filabi's New "Expert Analysis" on Law360

The case for business ethics was recently made very clear to me when I co-chaired at the New York State Bar Association International Section’s Seasonal Meeting in Guatemala, particularly as it relates to hidden ethics risks in M&A transactions.  I wrote a piece for the Law360 site as part of their "Expert Analysis" explaining these risks.  It's a case study about A.P Moller-Maersk who purchased a port in Guatemala in 2016 just before it became embroiled in a corruption scandal, eventually adding another $43M to their acquisition costs to get a new, clean permit.

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Featured Business Ethics and Compliance Expert: Azish Filabi

Interview with Azish Filabi, CEO of Ethical Systems


As the CEO of Ethical Systems, what keeps you motivated? Are you optimistic about the current state of business? 

I am motivated every day by the opportunity to connect businesses with research and strategies that will make them more ethical and productive for the long term. We at Ethical Systems believe that good ethics is good business and our mission is to strengthen ethics within organizations by providing content, resources and tools by which to improve internal cultures and climates. It is rewarding to know that our organization is playing a needed role, and connecting with like-minded professionals.

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Azish Filabi Interviewed by the American Marketing Association

Ethical Systems CEO Azish Filabi, was interviewed in a far-reaching discussion with Hal Conick published on Marketing News, a publication of the American Marketing Association.

In the piece, which covers both the components and traits of an ethical leader as well as how to make ethics front and center in the hiring process and how marketers can be more ethical, Azish connects research with practice, helping identify academic reference points to confirm potential, and profitable, strategies.

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