Whistleblowers at financial services firms should be "rewarded and celebrated", HSBC Group chairman Douglas Flint said at the launch of a campaign encouraging people to speak out against wrongdoing today.
Set up by the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment, Speak Up is designed to encourage the financial services industry to help staff who highlight illegal practices, or raise concerns about colleagues going against company policy or failing on standards.
CISI has introduced a new Speak Up element to its training is also looking at creating a hardship fund to give potential whistleblowers financial support.
HSBC Group chairman Douglas Flint has put his weight behind the campaign. Speaking at CISI today, he said companies should “encourag[e] the calling out of both good and bad behaviour and rewarding and celebrating those who escalate their concerns, even if they are sometimes wrong”.
This was a crucial part of introducing the “right culture” he added, praising the CISI for using the phrase 'Speak Up' “rather than using the term whistleblowing, which has a much narrower and more sinister connotation in many people's minds”.
“We want our people to share concerns with colleagues and supervisors as part of everyday life rather than as a last resort event when the pattern of behaviour has degenerated to toxic,” Flint said.
Flint called on those in the industry to support the campaign, highlighting how in the years since the financial crisis erupted “the analyses get more thoughtful and, in many ways, more disturbing”.
“One of the most humbling experiences of the last few years for those of us in leadership and governance roles has been in recognising that business was not always conducted the way it
should have been.”