INTERNATIONAL CONSULTATION – LONDON JANUARY 31ST – FEBRUARY 1ST 2019
Ethics in international Business and Finance
Sixth Consultation Meeting – London, January 31st-February 1st, 2019
An Ethical Debate on Finance and Technology
The Dublin Process was started in 2013 by the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice (CAPP) Foundation to discuss the financial crisis from the point of view of Catholic Social Teaching, with a special emphasis on leaders’ personal involvement and a responsible company culture. The fourth meeting (Madrid 2017) extended its focus to the impact of digitization on finance and the future of work. The fifth meeting held in New York in March 2018 explored the relationships between ethical failures in business, the shortcomings of traditional business ethics and the impact of the new tech culture. The meetings expressed the need for a more affirmative Christian inspired statement on and within the new economy.
The 6th Dublin Process consultation, which took place in London on January 31st and February 1st, 2019 at Fisher Hall Campus of University of Notre Dame (USA) in England – Suffolk Street 1-4 – and at the House of Lords, sought to address in more detail some of the ethical issues in finance, always related to a modern statement of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching applied to a sustainable market economy. The event has being organized jointly with the University of Notre Dame (USA) in England and co-sponsored by St Mary’s University, Twickenham; the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University; the School of Politics and International Relations of the University of Kent; and Campion Hall, Oxford. The meeting has been chaired by Lord Daniel Brennan KCSG, QC and Domingo Sugranyes Bickel, CAPP Foundation Chairman.
Thursday, January 31st, 2019 – University of Notre Dame (USA) in England – Fischer Hall Campus, Suffolk Street 1-4, London, Trafalgar Hall
2:00 pm Welcome address by Rev. Dr. James M. Lies, C.S.C., University of Notre Dame (USA) in England
Urgent Challenges for Christian Social Thought
His Excellency Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain
The Right Rev. David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, Church of England Commissioner
Introductory main report: Dr Mark Hayes, Durham University – SLIDES
3:00 pm First working session
A Document on Christian Financial Ethics
A debate on the Oeconomicae et Pecuniariae Quaestiones Letter from the Vatican
Main Rapporteur: Prof Philip Booth, St Mary’s University – SLIDES
4:00 pm Coffee Break
4:30 pm Second working session
Purposeful Innovation in Finance
Main Rapporteur: Dame Helena Morrissey, Legal & General Investment Management
Jason Channell, CITI; Paolo Garonna, FEBAF; Andrew Hilton, CSFI; Paul Nowak, TUC
6:45 pm Entrance at the House of Lords for start at 7:15 pm
7:45 pm Dinner service begins
Keynote speech: Lord Christopher Francis Patten of Barnes
Friday February 1st, 2019 – University of Notre Dame (USA) in England – Fischer Hall Campus, Suffolk Street 1-4, London, Trafalgar Hall
8:15 am Holy Mass
9:00 am Third working session
Level Playing Field in Technologically Transformed Finance
Main Rapporteur: Prof John Kay
Pascal Blanqué, Amundi; José Manuel González Páramo, BBVA; Faith Reynolds, Financial Services Consumer Panel; Domenico Siniscalco, Morgan Stanley
11:00 am Coffee Break
11:30 am Debate
12:00 am Fourth working session
How to update continued ethical discernment on changing Finance and Technology
Comments on previous sessions:
The Rt Hon Ruth Kelly, St Mary’s University
Prof Adrian Pabst, University of Kent School of Politics and International Relations
12:30 pm Light lunch (Senior Common Room)
1:30 pm General debate. All participants invited to speak
3.30 pm Conclusions
Indications from Pope Francis
The CAPP Foundation’s brief was redefined by Pope Francis in demanding terms in 2017: “to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress, and business, to meet the ethical challenges posed by the imposition of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology, the throwaway culture and lifestyles that ignore the poor and despise the weak”.
In his 2018 address to the Foundation, Pope Francis gave an indication about how this task should be understood: “All too often, a tragic and false dichotomy – analogous to the artificial rift between science and faith – has developed between the ethical teachings of our religious traditions and the practical concerns of today’s business community. But there is a natural circularity between profit and social responsibility […] In a word, the ethical dimension of social and economic interaction cannot be imported into social life and activity from without but must arise from within. This is, of course, a long-term goal requiring the commitment of all persons and institutions within society”.
Christian Social Teachings on Finance
In a recent document (Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones. Considerations for an Ethical Discernment Regarding Some Aspects of the Present Economic-Financial System, May 17, 2018) , two Vatican official bodies proposed a new formulation of the fundamental considerations on economics and finance in the perspective of Catholic Social Teaching, which offers a good basis for further debate. The practical part of the document discusses problems which have been matter of concern since the 2008 financial crisis, namely the impartiality of financial intermediaries, short-term incentives, the dangers of securitization and derivatives, interest rate manipulations and abusive tax evasion at off-shore financial centres.
Many unsolved problems remain in the financial world regarding personal ethics and structural weaknesses: ten years after the last financial crisis, after many changes in regulatory policies, some of the above questions are still pending. In the meantime, technology is transforming traditional finance (on-line payments, personal data mining, targeted marketing, automatic credit scoring…) and new actors have appeared with fintech. A modern ethical framework for finance requires renewed thinking on the problems of the past, but also a new attitude of fairness to all parties, a new approach of the essential role of finance in economic development, and how these permanent dimensions are affected by technological change.
Framework and themes for the London consultation
Basic concerns include whether shareholder return can be sustainable without responsible corporate behaviour, and economic growth without sustainable social progress; and how ethics based on the common good and more virtuous action can become a truly accepted moral compass within business organizations.
To have such a conversation in London is especially appropriate given its role as leading financial centre and also because of vivacious debate within the Christian communities about economic and financial matters.
The debate at two previous ‘Dublin Process’ consultations focused on different aspects of the cultural and ethical foundations of the new economy, and on the consequences of digitalization on the future of work. It was stated that the Church’s preferential option for the poor today needs to include the ignorant, the naïve and those exploited by the data world. Each new step towards Artificial Intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, biotech and neuroscience does raise new ethical questions. Applying the principles of Catholic Social Teaching to these new economic and social questions require Church groups to acknowledge how innovation occurs, a more detailed analysis of new approaches and more dialogue with key participants.
The London consultation has been focused on the same range of questions, focusing in particular on the financial sector. The basic question is: how does financial innovation affect the common good in society? Some of the issues for debate have been the following:
How to identify bias in algorithm production and methods? How can technology improve financial stability and service to economic agents? Can innovation be used in a way which increases consumer satisfaction and meaningful work involvement? Is it possible to design incentives such as to orient innovation towards real development needs? Can technology improve financial risk management? How could there be a ‘public interest’ test for financial innovation?
– Markets and income distribution
How should regulation apply to new financial actors? How do policy choices align with the common good? Are the tech groups extracting monopoly rents? How is the fair price of information to be recognised? Who should profit from the increase in productivity? What ownership/stewardship arrangements would work best in the common interest?
The meeting tried to conclude on how the Churches could permanently update their message on how to apply the idea of human integral development in a permanently changing financial sector.
-Format and Methodology
As for previous events, the ‘Dublin Process’ London consultation gathered a selected group of academics, practitioners from business and trade unions, politicians and specialists in social ethics. Papers has been distributed in advance to allow full participation. The conclusions will be used for wider distribution and debates organized by the CAPP Foundation.
All papers distributed in advance to participants
Speakers and rapporteurs: 20 minutes speaking time. Authors of discussion papers: 10 minutes speaking time
Interventions in debate: 3 minutes
Short summary to be distributed with all participants’ approval and with a list of participants.
All papers as well as a more detailed summary to be published on the CAPP Foundation’s website and eventually in book form