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Ethically Speaking

In this episode, Institute for Enterprise Ethics Director, Dan Sweeney, and James "Skip" Spensley,  Adjunct Professor in the Management Department at the Daniels College of Business, discuss "Sustainable Sustainability Programs."

Click here to listen to the most recent episode of Ethically Speaking.


Goldman Sachs Makes Headlines
Regarding Whistleblower Policies

Institute For Enterprise Ethics | Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs, a leader in the world of investment banking and financial services, found itself in the news this week due to allegations that the company handled whistleblower claims inappropriately back in 2014.

According to the New York Times, in 2014 James Katzman, one of the company’s leaders within their mergers and acquisitions practice, called Goldman’s whistleblower hotline to report ethical issues. In 2015, Katzman left the company and individuals close to him say that it was because the company neglected to address his complaints, and instead pressured him to keep quiet. Goldman Sachs on the other hand, claims that they addressed Katzman’s claims in accordance with their whistleblower policy.

Despite what is true in this situation, the issue at hand is whether companies are following through on their whistleblower promises to their employees. Whistleblower hotlines should serve as a resource for companies to make improvements and become more ethical leaders in their industries. If companies are not making proper use of these tools, then they serve no purpose other than to create doubt within the minds of their employees and their customers.

Click here to read the complete article in the New York Times.

Wells Fargo Gets Another $1B Fine For Poor Risk Management.

Wells Fargo Fined | Institute for Enterprise Ethics

According to MarketWatch: “To hear the OCC tell it, Wells Fargo did not establish “effective first and second lines of defense,” execute on a comprehensive plan to address compliance risk management deficiencies, fill mission-critical staffing positions, implement a reliable risk assessment and testing program and report compliance concerns adequately to the board.”

The $1 Billion penalty was announced Friday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Wells Fargo was fined $500 million by each agency. It will need to pay its penalty to the consumer watchdog within 10 days. The OCC did not specify a payment deadline.

Other Federal regulators have admonished Wells Fargo, as well. In February of 2018, the Federal Reserve met out an unprecedented punishment against Wells Fargo for what it identified as "widespread consumer abuses," including the creation of as many as 3.5 million customer accounts under false pretenses.

Under that penalty, Wells Fargo will not be allowed to get any bigger than it was at the end of last year — $2 trillion in assets — until the Fed is satisfied that it has put systems in place to curb these types of systematic abuses.

The Institute has produced a 6-part special edition of the Ethically Speaking podcast to highlight the ongoing issues at Wells Fargo. Listen to it here.


Business Ethics, Governance and Compliance News

Say It Isn’t So, eh?

Institute for Enterprise Ethics | Catalyst Canada
According to the Wall Street Journal, our neighbors to the north are looking into complaints Catalyst inflated values and deceived borrowers. Canada, with their good boy prime minister has always seemed so good and so pure. How disappointing!

Making Your Company More Ethical

Harvard Business Review | December 2016

Recently two scholars associated with the University of Pennsylvania published a short article in the Harvard Business Review on What You Can Do to Improve Ethics at Your Company. This advice is based on a study of a sample of C-Suite executives from around the world as well as on the experience the authors gleaned from their own consulting practices.

The 30 leaders in the study recalled a total of 87 “major” ethical dilemmas from their career histories. More than 50 had occurred in the course of the last five years. Another surprise was how few of the incidents were caused by bribery, corruption, or anti-competition issues (only 16 percent of all ethical dilemmas mentioned). More often the dilemmas were the result of competing interests, misaligned incentives, clashing cultures.

Their advice is simple, clear and very practical.

Is Michigan State and Dr. Nassar Another Case of Penn State and Coach Paterno?

It sure looks like it! Apparently Michigan State University did not learn anything from the travails at Penn State University seven years ago. Two very important lessons came out of the Penn State scandal, and should be learned by every institution and organization. The Institute for Enterprise Ethics addresses them then and repeat them here.
“Decisions, decisions, decisions.”

Whistleblowers: Not just corporate tattle-tales, but actual change agents.

Institute for Enterprise Ethics

In a Fair Game column in the New York Times, Gretchen Morgensen reported on a research study by Assistant Professor Jaron H. Wilde at the University of Iowa that found “a sharp and lasting drop in financial wrongdoing at companies that were subject to whistle-blower investigation.” While, this finding seems quite reasonable from an intuitive perspective, it is very gratifying to have some hard empirical evidence that whistleblowers do provide some measureable value to the companies being whistle blowed upon.

Who’s Responsible for the Opioid Epidemic?

Institute for Enterprise Ethics | Opiod Epidemic

More than 300,000 American have died from opioid addiction since the late 1990’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Atlantic magazine reports: “In 2012, there were 793 million doses of opioid prescribed (in Ohio), enough to supply every man, woman and child with 68 pills each.”Too many doctors prescribe too many doses. Pharmacies fill too many prescriptions. Distributors deliver too many shipments. Manufacturers produce and promote too many pills. All of these businesses are aware of the severe personal crises these medicines are causing and to which they are major contributors. Why don’t they do something about it?

Strategic Partners

NetImpact's mission is tNetImpact | University of Denvero cultivate a community of Daniel's College of Business students and professionals dedicated to using business as a platform for creating positive social, environmental, and financial impact.

Strategic Partners

National Association of Corporate Directors | Colorado Chapter

The vision of the National Association of Corporate Directors is to develop the best educated directors with a focus on skills, ethics and leadership.  Their mission is to provide real learning and quality networking for directors and board engaged “C” suite officers and to be the voice for the director.


About the Institute

The Institute for Enterprise Ethics was established at the Daniel's College of Business as the vehicle to extend the College’s expertise and resources in business ethics to the practitioner community of executives, officers and directors of commercial and social enterprises in the region.

To learn more about the Institute, click here.

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