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Question 1

How does your bank address ethical concerns?

Banksare financial institutions that provide services in terms of loans, securing deposits and offering interest rates to customers. It is the utmost responsibility of the banks to abide by certain principles that are directly related to the ethical concern of the industry. Suncorp bank is a commercial bank situated in Australia. The major role of the bank is to lend money, accept deposits, transfermoney and participate in foreign exchanges. Suncorp Bank offers its service to Australia based customers guided by ethical legislations. Suncorp is dedicated to unbiased and transparent remuneration policy for its shareholders, customers and other Australian communities (Poruschiet al. 2018). Due to the risk-free quality service offered by the bank, a large number of their customers stick to their service. Following the remuneration policies, data security and other privacy policies, the institutioncan attract and retain more talents to achieve its strategic objectives.

Just like any other banks, Suncorp Bank holds certain ethical responsibility that is not protected by liabilities of the consequences. The record and perception of the ethics of Suncorp bank affecting the reputation and assurance of its success. Abiding by ethical regulations reduces conflicts that trigger organizational complexity. The remuneration policy of Suncorp bank follows a governance framework for its structure. Thus it helps the banking authority to reach the banking strategies. The principles determining remuneration are focused on demonstrating accurate behaviors and delivering quality performance. In order to address the ethical concern, Suncorp bank has maintained an executive remuneration comprising of fixed remuneration and policies for granting short and long term incentives (Poruschiet al. 2016). The policy of fixed remuneration represents the skills and scope which are reviewed annually, for instance, the short term incentives make an appraisal on the group performances within a year whereas long term incentives appraise the shareholder value. Understanding of the remuneration review is very crucial for which the board members of Suncorp bank have given added attention to the framework ensuring its executive accountability. Suncorp Bank has maintained a constructive culture within the company through its ethical business practices effective for managing risks. The board members consider the feedback of its stakeholders and customer inquiries to regulate its operations.

Suncorp is a dedicated bank that aims to improve the business practices for increasing environmental, social and economic outcomes. Although maintaining trust with the stakeholders is an essential concern for the bank, therefore, Suncorp engages its shareholders proactively to understand things. Suncorp maintains the transparency of their business by following an appropriate code of conduct. The code of conduct of the organization helps the authorities to take the right decision in dealing with customers, suppliers, shareholders and other intermediates. The code of conduct sets some guidelines that set the consequence for applying the expected standards(Anufriev and Panchenko, 2015). Thus the code of conduct guides the organization to deliver better performance. The operation of Suncorp is highly regulated that manages the compliances with overseen requirements with the help of key regulators such as Australian Securities and investment commission (ASIC), Australian transaction reports and analysis center (APRA). The policies ensuring ethical security to the employees, as well as their customers, comply with the regulatory requirements. Hence the policies of ethical concern followed by the bank consist of the following

- Compliance management

- Code of conduct

- Conflict of interest policy

- Disclosure policy

- Privacy management policy

- Securities trading policy

- Safety and well-being policy

Suncorp makes different ways to improve its risk management techniques that are dynamic in according to the community expectations. Presently Suncorp has collaborated with ASIC in order to remediate the outcome of its customer from the previous economic planning that brings noticeable progress on financial assessment (Poruschiet al. 2018). Presently Suncorp has collaborated with the Australian government by participating in the governmental inquiries in order to deliver effective customer service. Along with this Suncorp has submitted multiple submissions, few of them are outlined below.

- The Royal Commission into misconduct in the banking and financial service industry

- Productivity commission into a competition of financial system of Australia

- Northern Australia insurance premium taskforce

The bank has a customer advocate office for presenting office activities to the board risk committee. The organizational team aims to improve customer advocacy and support the engagement process for lodging insurance claims (Anufrievand Panchenko, 2015). In addition to this other ethical concern of Suncorp bank involves Data security and privacy policy for its customers and building financial resilience. The policies secure the deposits made by customers and relieve them during financial hardships by offering them cost effective financial services.

Question 2

Where does your bank have possible conflicts of interest?

Suncorp bank follows a strong code of conduct and maintains a standard for its people, customers, suppliers, shareholders, intermediaries and partners. The bank involves proactive engagement of its shareholders and other people to ensure transparency between them. The Code of Conduct of Suncorp Bank is applicable on all its employees regardless of the hierarchy. Suncorp Bank operates in a highly regulated environment and industry and therefore requires following strict regulations set out by the Australian and State Governments. Since it is important to conduct business activities with honesty and integrity, Suncorp Bank ensures a genuine corporate behaviour without any dishonest, corrupt or unethical behaviour. However, as the bank operated in a highly regulated industry, there may exist underlying conflicts of interest. According to Rahim (2017), conflicts of interest refers to a situation where a person has competing interest or loyalties. A conflict of interest may be with a person with his/her professional position or conflicts his/her professional authority in more than one company. For instance, in organizations, employees in a position of a responsibility may have outside conflicting interests in their own interests rather than in the interest of the organization. In the case of Suncorp, the bank identifies it as the responsibility of every member of the organization to effectively manage conflicts of interest in order to conduct a fair and ethical business. According to the Suncorp (2017), the bank tries to avoid such situations of conflict of interest but regardless of having policies in place, there could be possible chances of conflicts of interest. The situations which could possibly have significant impact on Suncorp Bank are dishonesty and lack of integrity. The clients of the bank have trust and confidence, but this must be a continuous process. The bank aims at conducting business with integrity and honesty which can only achieved when every member of the organization has no conflicting interest with any other person or another organization.

The bank also enlists certain situations like accepting improper gifts, favours and benefits from any client or partner. The clients or partners extending providing such benefits may be generous on their part, but this may be a non-compliance on part of the employees as per their Code of Conduct of conducting business. Personal and external interests could be present among handful of employees, but this could be in conflicting interests with the best interest of the Suncorp Group (Suncorp Group Ltd., 2019). The bank encourages its employees to report the occurrence of any such situation to continue working with honesty and integrity. Also, the employees are expected to work within their power and position in the business. Conflict of interest is both a complex and straightforward matter and this the reason organizations require understanding of the underlying issues which are usually involved. In order to minimize the risk to the reputation of the organization, it becomes crucial to even avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. These situations can be harmful in the interests of public decision making and therefore, specific areas should be considered. Suncorp can possibly be affected from the non-adherence of the Conflicts of Interest Policy and such avoidance may cost them in terms of managing and preventing the attached risks. Each situation of conflict incurs different costs, but each situation requires a contextually appropriate response. The avoidance may be difficult for certain employees due to the involvement of their personal interests but using their power and position to take the benefit is morally wrong in the eyes of the organization. The suppliers and external partners are also expected to work in accordance with their professional duties which means that their supplies are only to be provided to the concerned authority and used for legitimate business purposes.

In the year 2018, one of the Suncorp organization's division was suspected to have conducted a conflict of interest. As identified by Ferguson and Williams (2018) in their article, this division of the organization may have breached laws and kept the profits ahead of the interests of the superannuation customers. This breach occurred under the supervision of Geoff Summerhayes, director of the Suncorp Bank's superannuation trustee from 2008 to 2015. The bank of accused to have breached laws to prioritise the financial interests of the members of the organization. This can be a classic example of how members of an organization can be involved in situations of conflict of interest. However, in case of Suncorp Group, the organization has taken the responsibility of dealing with such situations and adhere to the Code of Conduct.


Which theory of ethics best describes your bank - and which theory of  ethics should your bank subscribe to in your opinion?

Suncorp bank is a financial organisation which has been following the code of conduct in a manner focusing on the improvement of the entire society which includes the customers and the employees and all the stakeholders of the company. It has been rightly mentioned by the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Michael Cameron, "At Suncorp we go beyond earning profits and providing quality solutions to our customers. We are committed to making a difference for our customers, employees and the communities where we live and work". The statement made by the CEO provides the zest of the ethics that has been maintained in the bank and the future aspect of the bank too. The ethics or the code of conduct which has been followed in the bank aims at improvising the economy along with the social and environmental areas. The company has built up its code of conduct through compassing the core behaviours which has been helping in unlocking the potentiality of the employees and thus making the best use of the resources (Banks, 2016). The code of conduct has been practiced and followed in the concerned organisation at a wider scale and this has provided with some fruitful results to the bank. The company has been working on the basis of the deontology theory of ethics which conveys that the people should adhere to their obligations as well as their duties while making decisions. The company has been maintaining its code of conduct through the deontology theory of ethics as it states that the person needs to follow his obligations to another individual or society as the ethics convey that executing one's own responsibilities and duties towards society is done through following the ethics or is an ethical action. The employees of the company or the bank has been quite accurate in the maintenance of law and order and carries out all their works and actions within the boundary of the law and the code of conduct of the company. The follow up of the deontology theory also replicates the employees of keeping promises or following the statements that they make. These considerations of the company has provided the picture to follow the deontology theory of ethics (Chewet al. 2016). The code of conduct framed by the Suncorp includes the laws which are confined to the corporate laws, employment laws, customer laws, quality laws and other company laws which has channelized the actions and the decisions of the employees or of the bank towards the wellbeing of the society or the community within the laws. On acknowledging the code of conduct of Suncorp, one fine example is that the leaders must ensure that their teams are familiar with the code, this also conveys that the code isguiding the employees orthe team towards justified behaviour, fostering a culture of openness along with the understanding. The leader should also be acknowledged about his team that they understand the policies of the organisation and understands the values or the principles that the organisation holds or intends toserve (Kane, 2018).The follow up of the deontology theory of ethics in the concerned organisation has been proved to be quite productive though there exist certain contradictor parts in the theory but the gains overshadow the losses.

There exist multiple other theories of ethics which has been taken up by other organisations such as the utilitarianism theory of ethics, rights theory of ethics, virtue theory of ethics and many others. The utilitarianism theory is the one which is based on the one's ability to predict the consequence of an action. Though it carries a mixed probability of being accurate in results but the application of this theory is quite productive for the marketing organisations. Suncorp being a financial institution, the use of the deontology theory of ethics has been rightly chosen by the firm and it should continue with the same theory of ethics. The organisation has been working well through it and it has been identified to be a productive one too. The framed up code of conduct of Suncorp has been quite clear on its statements and it provides the cross checking as whether the employee is being able to follow the conduct or not. The standards and the laws are being followed or not, is the employee able to deliver quality services or productive services, these cross checks provides the employees with the satisfaction score card and thus, the code gets followed (Dell'Attiet al. 2017). The working of the organisation has been channelized well through the deontology theory of ethics and the satisfaction of the customers of the firm has also been quite high. The increasing business of the bank reflects the productive quality of the code of conduct and the gradual enhancement of the same has also been considered. The organisation quite clear on the consequences of not following the code of conduct which restricts the employees to follow it and thus, the restriction has been providing the organisation with fruitful results. The organisation would take disciplinary actions if it finds that any of its employees do not follow the ethics and this also falls under the deontology theory of ethics (Reimerand Thompson, 2019).It is suggested or recommended that Suncorp should keep on following and practicing the deontology theory of ethics and this would provide the bank with satisfied customers as well as satisfied employees. These ingredients would provide the bank with a sustainable scenario and thus, the follow up of the laws would also make it authentic as per the government laws.

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