Amnesty International + “Toxic Culture” | BBC UK

Starling Team

Amnesty International will lose most of its senior leadership team after a report said it had a “toxic” workplace. According to one survey, one in three workers say that they’ve been treated poorly at work since 2017.

The human rights organisation’s secretary-general, Kumi Naidoo, ordered an independent review after two employees killed themselves last year. In the review, one staff member described Amnesty as having “a toxic culture of secrecy and mistrust”.

The report also pointed to an “us versus them” dynamic between employees and management. “Across many interviews, the word ‘toxic’ was used to describe the Amnesty work culture as far back as the 1990s. So were the phrases ‘adversarial’, ‘lack of trust’, and ‘bullying’,” the report said.

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Singapore: Progressing the Culture and Conduct Risk Agenda | Regulation Asia

Starling Team

In a series of articles written in collaboration with Regulation Asia, Starling has outlined its principal findings.

In the first three articles, we discussed (1) the UK’s leadership role in driving the global supervisory agenda around conduct and culture, (2) developments in Australia that have shaped the global dialogue around governance and supervision in this area, and (3) Hong Kong’s ecosystem approach to addressing culture and conduct issues.

This article focuses on Singapore, where senior officials have been emphasizing the importance of culture in promoting ethical business practices at financial institutions. In particular, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has been taking steps to solidify its own leadership role regarding the global culture and conduct risk agenda.

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Starling Presents at New York Federal Reserve Bank’s Annual Culture Conference

Starling Team

Starling CEO and founder Stephen Scott was invited to present at the NY Fed conference “Building Cultural Capital in the Financial Services Industry: Emerging Practices, Risks and Opportunities,” on June 4, 2019.  The full day event, which was attended by over 200 private sector executives and public sector officials, included remarks from current NY Fed President and CEO John Williams and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. 

Stephen presented at a session about the impact of new technologies and the 21st century workforce on culture.  He then joined Jonathan Haidt, Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University-Stern School of Business; Damon Horowitz, Philosophy Professor at Columbia University, and Vanessa Colella, Chief Innovation Officer and Head of Citi Ventures at Citigroup for a panel discussion.

In his presentation, Stephen discussed the importance of culture: how it drives conduct; how it beats compliance; and how it is contagious.  He also cited academic research finding that employees with a high cultural fit correlate to higher levels of firm and individual performance.

After describing the development of metrics that can be used to measure culture, Stephen concluded with commentary about trust.  He noted that trust networks are the heart of culture problems; that they are essential to governance solutions; and that they are the future of supervisory success. 

His entire presentation can be downloaded here.

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Financial institutions rebuked by MAS | Today Online

Starling Team

Two years after regulators cracked down on several banks after uncovering Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) says that while institutions have reformed their systems, they haven’t improved their culture.

According to managing director Ravi Menon, “Financial institutions have restored their capital, but not public trust. They have repaired their balance sheets, but not their compact with society. They have reformed their systems, but not their culture.”

Menon goes on to say that culture is critical in shaping the way that these organizations do business. As a result, the MAS will increase their supervision on conduct and culture inside financial institutions.

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Starling Presents at Institute of International Finance (IIF) Digital Finance Symposium

Starling Team

Starling’s Co-founder Jeff Kupfer was invited to participate at the IIF Digital Finance Symposium in Washington DC on May 29, 2019. He appeared on the “sandboxes” planned along with the Chief FinTech Officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Deputy Director of the Ontario Securities Commission’s LaunchPad.

Jeff and his fellow panelists discussed how industry and the public sector are seeking ways to unleash innovation for more efficient and effective financial services while containing the risks. They focused primarily on sandboxes, including the newly formed Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), which is a group of 35 regulators and international organizations led by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. After describing how the GFIN selected Starling to be one of eight companies to test a cross border pilot project, Jeff explained the benefits for all involved – encouragement for banks to be the “first mover” and trial new technologies, knowledge sharing for participating regulators, and development of common metrics.

The IIF is a global association of the financial industry with almost 450 members from 70 countries. Its mission is to support the financial industry in risk management, develop sound industry practices, and to advocate for policies that foster global financial stability and economic growth.

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