Bankers are more likely to behave unethically when under pressure to reach tough performance targets, according to a survey of British financial-services employees.
Managers in banking, insurance and wealth management were more anxious and inclined to misbehave when “negative consequences or punishment for poor performance were highlighted,” PricewaterhouseCoopers and the London Business School said in a report on Monday.
“When it made them feel anxious, they tended to say money was one of their key motivators,” Duncan Wardley, a behavioral science specialist at PwC, said in the statement. “They also tended to take more risks and make unethical choices.”
The financial industry has faced stricter regulation following the 2008 banking crisis and a series of scandals, as the Bank of England seeks to implement a suite of rules known as the senior managers’ regime. The measures increase responsibilities of non-executive directors and introduce potential jail sentences for bankers who take risks leading to the failure of their firm.
The research involved surveys of 2,431 managers from financial-services companies in November and December 2014, PwC said.