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Ethics Education for Finance Students Following the GFC
Richard I. Copp and Victor Wong
Griffith University, Australia
Volume 9: 2012 Special Issue, pp. 77-88: ABSTRACT
University finance curricula have been criticized in the financial press in the wake of the GFC for ignoring the ethical dimensions of financial decision-making in practice. Many practitioners experience moral dilemmas about whether the broader "public interest" objectives of legal or accounting regulation, for example, should at times be sacrificed in favour of fulfilling an inconsistent upper management objective. Moreover, many propositions in finance are both positive and normative. For example, financial maxima and optima can be discussed only for a given distribution of wealth between relevant parties: shareholder wealth can be maximized, but only subject to a "given" constraint determined by the ethical norms of the society in which the firm operates. Assuming students' sensitivity to ethical issues can be enhanced, ethics should be embedded within finance curricula, together with a final year, capstone course on "Ethical Investing" in the degree.