“Investment bankers have no soul.” Now that’s something we’ve heard plenty of times in recent years, for obvious reasons.
But at the end of the day, the phrase lacks judgement. It doesn’t carry weight.
I’m not proposing an anthropological study of bankers (Joris Luyendijk has done quite a lot on the subject matter). Who has time? I just believe that even a little review of material on this species of workers would do more good than harm for everyone. It becomes part of a demystification process.
Improving the state of the world
One of the themes of this year’s World Economic Forum was ‘Trust in Finance’.
The question addressed by several prominent Davos-goers panelling the relevant talk on that topic was this: What can be done to instil more trust in the Financial Services sector since the global banking crisis?
Naturally, the open-ended question invited a slew of thoughtful responses from leading experts.
But our beloved leaders were too busy frolicking around the Swiss Alps and skipping from one cocktail party to the next, taking silly selfies and flirting with other attendees and young servers, to consider a crucial point: the Financial Services sector is about people.
How can they tackle a whole sector when they know so little about the principal character in this unfolding drama? That is, the individual who stands at the center of the financial universe, pulling all the strings. Indeed, I speak of none other than the investment banker.
‘Trust’ is built on information, transparency, familiarity and empathy. I say to them, if you really want to change the financial services sector then begin by developing a deeper understanding of the mysterious character who makes the sector tick.
Perhaps one way to start is by drawing parallels between an investment banker and a monk.