Sir, The suggestion from Elizabeth Corley, head of Allianz Global Investors, that there should be a “black book” to track “bad apple” traders seems such an obvious step that it is difficult to see why anyone might object, which is no guarantee that it will happen ( FT Interview, February 20).
Ms Corley also identifies traders in fixed income, currency and commodities as being a key area of focus and again, there is every reason to believe that traders in these areas are cut from the same cloth as those already found wanting in the scandals over Libor, FX and gold price fixing. However, I am not persuaded by her suggestion that rather than a licensing regime, traders should be required to make an annual attestation that they have complied with a code of conduct. Are these not the same group who have been busily rigging the markets to their own ends? “Code of Conduct compliance certificate? Where do I sign? No problem, mate!”
There is no easy solution, but what we can do is try to educate new entrants to the rights and responsibilities of their position before they start being “infected” by the pernicious activities of some of their peers. For example, in 2013 the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment made it mandatory for all those new to the capital markets arena to pass the institute’s IntegrityMatters online test and, since that date, some 15,000 new entrants to the industry have done so.
While it would be naive to believe that such a test provides a reliable indication of the students’ future behaviour, it is one step in the necessarily continuous process of making them aware of their responsibilities and what constitutes appropriate behaviour. At its simplest this may be described as knowing the difference between right and wrong. The examples of wrongdoing mentioned above show that knowledge of this basic distinction can no longer be taken for granted.
Pulborough, W Sussex, UK
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