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Past BACO president urges culture of integrity

Past president of the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers, Natasha Rolle-Bastien, has urged financial services providers to nurture a culture of integrity and develop "value-based systems" that promote ethical behaviour. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012
Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fostering a culture of integrity within a business takes more than just following a code of conduct, according to Natasha Rolle-Bastien, past president of the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers (BACO).

“Compliance seeks to ensure an organization remains in sync with what the law says we have to do. It seeks to maintain the minimum standards, but a culture of compliance is not enough,” she told members of the financial community at a Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS) seminar held in Nassau recently.

“Right and wrong should not be measured merely by compliance with the law. Employees should feel free to discuss ethical issues and be rewarded for ethical behaviour.”

Rolle-Bastien stressed that those at the senior level of a company had a responsibility to lead by example, to encourage their employees to report any questionable behaviour and feel free to openly voice concerns.

“The tone must be set at the top. An organization’s leaders are best positioned to influence the organization’s culture and act as role models. It cannot flow down, if it is not at the top. Being a visible role model helps to provide examples for persons when they are caught in a difficult position.”

According to a 2011 report from the nonprofit organization Ethics Resource Center, 65 per cent of US employees said they had reported wrongdoing and 13 per cent said they felt pressured to compromise ethical standards to do their job.

Rolle-Bastien said that, while statistics for the Bahamian workforce did not exist, she doubted they would vary from the US figures and suggested that codes of conduct needed to be supplemented with “value-based systems” that would promote ethical behaviour.


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